Monday, 11 April 2011

Some more baking

I am baking bread fairly regularly, sometimes every day. 1) like it fresh, 2) small freezer. Now that my husband is converted to homemade bread, I have to bake more often as he takes it to work too. This first bread was absolutely gorgeous and I shall be making it again very soon. It's from Ursula Ferrigno's 'The New Family Bread Book'. It uses half strong brown flour and half strong white, but I think next time I will go just strong brown as I think this bread will carry it really well. And it's only myself and Miss 1 who eat bread with dried fruits anyway and we don't mind a bit of wholemeal. I did not follow the recipe to the letter... and I rarely do. Here is the recipe as I made it. Treacle and Date bread: 250 g wholemeal flour 250 g strong white flour 20 g fresh yeast (or 3.5 tsp dried yeast) 50 g butter, cold and cubed 1 tsp fine sea salt 85 g dates, chopped (note: 100 g would be nice I think) approx 300 ml tepid water For some reason blogger wont let me write this recipe neatly on different lines. So bare with me....(as the ladies on the phone say). Rub butter into the flour and add salt (and dried yeast, if using). Mix your fresh yeast into a little of the water and add to the dry ingredients, then add more water until the dough comes together. Add the chopped dates and knead the dough until smooth. I did about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and leave to rise for 1 hour or when it has doubled in size. Then knock back gently by spreading the dough flat onto the worktop and fold the 'ends' in to the middle until it makes a round shape. Then turn it around and tuck the dough under itself to make a nice ball. Leave to prove for 30 minutes and score the bread so it has several diamond shapes. Bake at G7/ 220'C for about 30 minutes. This all depends on your oven. Mine needed to be turned down to G6/200'C half way through. Lovely as it is or with butter. Even after 3 days it was yummy. Some people has not quite got the hang of scoring yet: This bread is the plain white loaf (with some wholemeal in my case) from River Cottage. UK residents can view it here: (PS. Totally MUST have an outdoor pizza oven like that. First I need a garden though!) For every kg of flour, you need 10 g dried yeast (I used 20g fresh), 15 g sea salt and water to form a dough. Even though I mostly do stretch and fold, I did some good old kneading here and then left it to rise in the fridge overnight. Formed the loaves this morning before the school run and baked them when I came back. Simple and delicious. That people think it's hard to bake bread is a mystery to me. It seems like someone has had a slice of the bread to the left..I wonder who... :D
This bread is half strong white flour and half fine semolina. Didn't take note of how much I put in of what, but I reckon I used about 500 ml of water.

I hope to start a sourdough adventure when I come back from holiday.


  1. Looks good! I know who wins the duel between store baked and homemade bread....

  2. Beautiful bread. My family loves fresh homebaked bread, but I usually only bake it about once a week.

  3. Date and treacle sounds delicious. I took to baking rye sourdough about 18 months ago and haven't looked back since. It's easy, makes great sandwiches, good toast and keep really well What I'm not so good at is experimenting with it. Now you've got me thinking, wouldn't it be easy to put a bit of mollasses and some dates in.

  4. Julie: Definitely!

    Mimi: Thank you, I'm happy to hear you also like baking :)

    Choclette: I'm really looking forward to experimenting with sourdough and I suppose you can pretty much do what you want with regards to ingredients. Definitely give the date and treacle bread a try, it is really tasty. In the same book (and in the 90s Vegetarian), U.Ferrigno also has a recipe for prune and chocolate bread which I have made twice. Lots of plain chocolate makes it a real treat for more special occasions. That should be right up your chocolate street I think!

  5. Hello, I'm from Cooking the Books with Kelly-Jane. You won the Audrey Gordon cookbook!!

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    cookingthebooks (at) hotmail (dot) co (dot) uk