My baking day was actually a few days ago but ill children, my niece’s birthday and stuff just got in the way of writing it up.
I’d planned to bake two types of bread but, whilst in the process, thought it might be a good idea to add a third. So I ended up with about 3kg of bread, grand achievement of about four and a half hours of spurts of activity. Master Meike’s kitchen helped by wisely staying out of the way and Miss Meike’s Kitchen licked the bowls clean.
So what did I make? A muesli bread, a Viennese white bread for Mr Meike’s Kitchen and, the unplanned one, a spelt bread, also white but a completely different taste.
I’ve been wanting to try out the muesli bread for some time but never had the ingredients at hand but this time, I persevered and collected grains and dried fruit until I had everything together. Well, not everything, I improvised a bit too… The recipe is from the free magazine of a health food shop.
I like about this bread that every slice is different and every mouthful tastes different. You only need a bit of butter on it! I can also imagine that it’s nice toasted.
100g 5-grain cereal flakes (mine are oat, wheat, rice, barley and rye)
75g dried apricots
2-3 tbsp cranberries (I used some from a jar, the dried ones I see in the shops are always with added sugar)
2-3 tbsp shelled pistachios
50g cashew nuts
21g fresh yeast
50ml water, lukewarm
375g strong white flour
1 egg (or a little milk)
Soak the cereal flakes (you could even use just porridge oats since it all disintegrates anyway) with the honey in the milk and water for half an hour.
Roughly chop the apricots and the nuts. (Again, you could use any combo you like – or what you’ve got available.) Mix in a bowl.
Dissolve the yeast in the water, then add with the flour and salt to the flakes. Mix until you can form a ball, more or less.
On a surface dusted with flour, pull the dough to a rectangle. Spread the fruit-nut mix evenly over one half of the dough. Fold the other half over the fruit-nut mix and knead until the fruit and nuts are evenly spread. Form a ball, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour until it has doubled in size.
Divide the dough into two equal parts and shape into loaves. Be careful to push all bits of fruit back from the surface into the dough as they will burn! (As I unfortunately had to discover…) Brush them with beaten egg or milk, then sprinkle with cereal flakes.
Cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes.
Bake in a preheated oven (220°C) for 20-25 minutes.
Bread number 2 is a Wiener Brot, or Viennese Bread, which is a basic white yeast bread with half milk, half water for liquids and a solution of starch and water for brushing the loaf with (1 tsp starch dissolved in 1/4l water, that’s enough for loads of loaves, I keep it in the fridge and just warm it up again before using it).
And, finally, the spontaneous spelt bread. This is a recipe out of Take a Break’s My favourite recipes. Unfortunately I ripped the page out and copied the recipe into my bread book so I can’t tell you the name of the author but it was in Issue 3 (February 2012) on page 63. I was surprised this time how white it turned out.
I’ve experimented with different proportions of normal and whole spelt flours before and I like them all. A bit of bread spice goes well with it too as do toasted seeds such as sunflower and sesame.
350g spelt flour
150 g plain flour
1 sachet yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
ca. 50g each of toasted sesame seeds and sunflower seeds (that’s for the odd seed here and there, if you want it “seedier”, you’ll need more)
1/4 tsp bread spice (for example 2 parts each of caraway, fennel and coriander and 1 part aniseed or 1 part each of coriander, allspice and caraway – all ground, fine or coarse, up to you)*
glug of olive oil
* Of course, you can leave it out completely. 1/4 tsp, however, is a very subtle taste (at least that’s what I tell myself; you can’t really taste or distinguish any flavours) or, if you like it stronger, you can put in more.
Put the flours, seeds, spice and yeast (on one side), salt and sugar (on the other side) into a bowl. Measure out the liquids in one container. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix. When it has come together, turn out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead. Shape into a ball. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for one hour.
Knock the air out and shape into a round loaf. Cover and leave to prove for 30 minutes. I usually cut it in some way – either a cross or diagonal slashes, depending on my mood…
I haven’t worked out the perfect way to bake this yet. The recipe states 40 minutes at 180°C (preheated) which is obviously pretty low for bread baking. This time my oven was at 200° when I put the bread in and I then lowered the temperature to 180°C. Next time, I might try 25 minutes at 220°C (fan), then 10-15 minutes at 200°. If it works for a wheat bloomer, I can’t see why it shouldn’t work for the spelt bread too.
And now a look at some slices: