Over the past few years many people have shared memories of themselves or their mums trying to bake bread during the national crisis that was the 1970’s Bread Strikes.
Turning out a ‘bread brick’ has been the common refrain. Well, with many having bought bread flour of late, maybe for the first time, Planet Leicester Bakers is determined to not see a repeat of this history. Instead, wouldn’t it be great if, after this disaster has passed, we were inspired by our efforts to continue baking our bread for life, shunning the rubbish bread we’ve been eating for years?
So, how can you make sure you Beat the Brick?
If you have a device with Skype on you could get in touch and book a Bread Baking Together session with me in your (and my) kitchen. We can work out what to bake from what is in your cupboard and give it a go. This is ideal for people who are stuck at home because of the pandemic and perhaps would also welcome a bit of company while they bake. So you can be a beginner or more experienced. Either way, let’s get baking together. It’s great for relaxation and reducing anxiety, which in turn will strengthen your immune system. In the meantime, read on for a simple recipe if you want to give it a go now. You can hear me on Ben Jackson’s BBC Radio Leicester show at 10.20am this morning (24th March) talking about the recipe, the Bread Baking Together and the loveliness of making bread at a time of crisis…
BASIC BREAD RECIPE – for a small loaf and a couple of buns, or for about 8 buns
Mix together in order:
400g strong bread flour (white or wholemeal or a mix)
2g (a scant teaspoon) of fast action/instant dried yeast (8g fresh yeast which you rub into the flour)
6-8g fine salt
Work the dough until strong enough to stretch without breaking easily (about 10 minutes). Cover with a plastic bag and place somewhere warm but not hot for about an hour. It should be puffy and well risen – if you cut it with a sharp knife you should see a lovely network of holes.
Turn out onto an unfloured surface and prod all over to get the gas out. Shape as you wish (pop the loaf in a greased tin if you have one) and cover with a tea towel to prove. Turn on your oven to 200c/gas mark 7.
Once risen (about 30-45 minutes) dust with flour, if a loaf just slash it down the middle with a sharp knife, and put in the heated oven. 15-20 minutes for buns, 30-40 minutes for a loaf. Tap on the bottom to check it is baked – it should sound very hollow. Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting!
Check out the Planet Leicester Bakers YouTube channel for the Baking a Difference playlist which has a basic recipe (using 300g of flour) and tips and tricks. Also there are play lists of my favourite bread videos from around the web!
Let me know how if goes – photos welcome! And stay safe x.