Having decided to make a wholemeal loaf, I took the flour out of the cupboard and discovered I had bought “brown” bread flour. I had a feeling that “brown” flour was just dyed white flour pretending to be wholemeal but it turns out that brown flour uses 90% of the grain rather than wholemeal’s 100%: it is just lacking the bran. I followed a wholemeal bread recipe and was amazed at how light it is (which is probably because it contains less wholemeal than it should!). And while it might not be the real thing, it’s still has to be better for you than straight white. The kids love it and the addition of a bit of butter in the recipe makes a nice change from my normal everyday loaf of flour, yeast and salt. It’s quite amazing how a relatively small amount of fat can change the texture of bread.
This is a Paul Hollywood recipe from “How to Bake“. I am slowly working my way through the book and haven’t made anything I don’t like yet. This one sounds more complicated than it is because he has you rolling the dough into a sausage and then tying it in a knot. There is absolutely no reason why you can’t just put this in a loaf tin, or shape it anyway you like, but I thought I would have a go at tying a knot having never tried before. It turns out it is a lot easier than you would think and the loaf ends up nice and round with a bit of a dent in the middle. Which is not too far off how it looks in the book, I’m pleased to say!
400g wholemeal (or brown) bread flour
100g strong white flour
15g fresh or 10g instant dried yeast
40g unsalted butter, softened
Put the flours into a large bowl and either rub in the fresh yeast or sprinkle in the dried. Add the butter in little pieces and the salt and mix.
Add the water and mix to a dough.
Tip out onto a surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough feels smooth and silky.
Put it into an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or oiled clingfilm. Leave for at least an hour or until doubled in size.
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knock the air out by folding it inwards repeatedly.
Roll it up into a sausage and then roll it with your hands until it is about 30cm long:
Tie the dough into a knot:
Put the bread onto an oiled baking sheet, cover and leave again for around an hour, or until doubled in size.
Set the oven to 210ºC. For a lighter crust you can put a roasting tray into the bottom of the oven and fill it with water when you put the loaf in but I didn’t do this.
Rub flour gently over the loaf and bake for around 30 minutes. Check it is done by tapping the base: it should sound hollow.
Allow to cool on a wire rack.