When I look at the ingredients list on a loaf of bread in my local superstore, I can’t believe that all of these ingredients listed on the label, are there just for my benefit.
I think that most of this incomprehensible long list is there to ease the manufacturing process, or to prolong the shelf life. I feel that this probably doesn’t do me any good.
After all, basic bread contains just four ingredients : flour, yeast, salt, water.
The compromise we are happy to make is that instead of eating a bunch of chemicals, we bake our own bread, and then either eat it warm right out of the oven, or freeze it till we need it.
This means that we only eat four or five basic ingredients, instead of somewhere between ten and twenty. My record label find so far was seventeen ingredients in one basic loaf.
This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s site.
4 cups organic white whole wheat flour
6 cups organic white flour
2 T fast acting yeast
2 T sea salt
3 T olive oil
1 Litre warm water
Measure the dry ingredients and put into a large deep bowl, add the olive oil.
Stir with a spoon just to blend. ( we don’t bother to use a machine). Add the warm water slowly mixing it in as you go.
With your hands, no machine required, start to form the dough by putting a very wet dough onto a non-floured surface, and begin Chef Bertinet’s method of “kneading” the dough. Some folk say kneading can hurt their wrists after a while and therefore they use Chef Bertinet’s method of kneading dough. But we use it because its easy and quick. Chef Bertinet has the cool French accent that somehow makes bread making sound cool. http://www.thebertinetkitchen.com.
Put dough back into deep bowl, cover with tea towel, put in a warm area and let prove for 1-2 hours.
The dough will double or more in size.
Now gently take the dough out of the bowl and shape into 3 loaves which you then put into 3 greased loaf tins.
Let prove again, doubling or more in size.
Bake in a preheated oven at 225 C or 425 F degrees for 25 minutes.
Take bread out of pans, place on a cooling rack to cool. Once cool the loaves can be put in freezer or enjoy immediately!
If you want the crust to be “crispy” put a tray of water into the oven make steam.
We enjoy it with strawberry jam – Enjoy Chris’s post about making strawberry jam.