Friday, 23 October 2009


Mark's bread features a lot in our household.
He has always made bread. It started during student days.
People say, wow, have you got a bread machine, I say yes he's that tall lanky one over there....then they say, what is the recipe, I wish I had time , etc etc. Actually its very simple, and despite the fact that Mark is always busy he fits the process in as part of the daily (in fact about every 3 days) routine.
I have nothing against bread machines, except its another kitchen gadget which often appears in vide grenier along with deep fat friers, veg steamers. Do we need so many appliances?
Making bread is also a soothing activity, deeply satisfying apart from the first couple of attempts when one (me) leaves out the yeast resulting in something that would not be on the film set of 'little house on the prairie'.
Here are the basic rules and equipment.
Flour: We buy this in large quantities from our local whole-food shop. Either 'bise' white with a little rough stuff left in, 'complete' which is wholemeal, or 'integral' which is everything, husks, stalks, small rodents...? We go for 'complet', integral is a bit too worthy, and teeth shattering.
Yeast: this little packet in the pic is fresh yeast found in most supermarkets here. Sometimes Mark uses a dried yeast which you mix in with the flour, but prefers the live stuff. There is something profoundly reassuring about the little cube..the smell, the 'realness' '..? don't know, but its a good 80 cents worth.
Water: from tap, or local source, if you have one...see future post...
Good tablespoon of salt.
That's it!
Optional extras:
Sunflower seeds, walnuts, Olive oil, tahini, bit of soya flour, for extra protein bread, olives, cat food(not really), anything you feel like actually.
BIG bowl.
Equally big wooden spoon.
Bread tins. These are special, for the job, Mark has old ones from Aunty Nora and from boot sale, they are double thickness and are never washed, just oiled.
Get big bowl, pour in flour, this is a dodgy area. Mark never weighs anything, experiment... I may look for a bit of film I have somewhere of him 'measuring' flour.
Make hole, put in excited yeast (has been put with sugar and warm water for a few minutes)
Mix up to chewing gum consistency, tip out onto floured surface, kneed, put back in bowl, cover with clean (often not appropriate chez nous) cloth. Leave until dough has risen to twice the size, with light classical music, if desired. If dough remains the same after a day, use as door stop, and buy bread machine.
Remix dough a little and put into oiled bread tins. Leave to reflect on life and the future (the dough, and yourself if needed...ha ha) for a bit (about half an hour)
Put in pre-heated oven, 170 approx, for about 40 minutes.
House will infused by wonderful wholesome happy smell. Visitors will be charmed, and nasty post received that morning will seem unimportant.

I just found the film....He seems to be using a nix of whole meal, probably with a bit of white mixed in.

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