Home-baked bread and home-grown vegetables 1

A chill-pill was lined up for bank holiday weekend, and work-in-the-garden was top on the to-do list.

Other family members have previously successfully grown leafy greens in the garden. This year is the year of the salad.

Due to slight impatience, tiny 9 cm crops were purchased (seedlings to be planted when the next chill-pill moment arrives), and digging started.

The little crops! Cool cucumber to the left; livelier tomato on the right.
The little crops! Cool cucumber to the left; livelier tomato on the right.

Then it hailed. Fortunately there was a lack of compost, and the crops had not been planted into the ground yet.

It was decided that the cucumber and tomato crops would be planted in pots, placed amongst other vegetation, like a thorny bush, in attempt to throw off living creatures who may come foraging for a snack.

This is my first first-hand experience of gardening, and I would like to share it with you here on the blog. That means regular updates (hint hint).

Inspired by the manual-labour-is-good-for-the-soul high that all the gardening gave me (we spring cleaned our whole back yard before starting digging), I decided to bake some bread.

The slight issue that arised was that the recipe was conceived as a loaf; the actual finished products were rolls, so they became rather substantial (and gave me hiccups the first two times I ate some). In that sense, they make perfect sandwich rolls, in particular because I used stoneground wholemeal flour, which fills you up nicely. Here is a skimmed over version of my adapted version of the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 sachet of instant, freeze dried, powdered yeast (most supermarkets make their own brand)
  • 750g flour (strong breadflour or some variation of it WITHOUT leavening)
  • 2 tsp salt (table)
  • 1 tsp sugar (granulated is fine)
  • 450 ml lukewarm water

Procedure:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients, but the yeast, in a large bowl.
  2. Empty the sachet of yeast on the bottom of another bowl (this is to avoid it coming into contact with the water too soon, and becoming active), add the mixed dry ingrdients, and pour the water on top.
  3. Mix into a dough. Add a little bit of flour if it feels too sticky.
  4. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes (by hand), or 5 minutes (with a food processor or other appliance)
  5. Return to bowl and leave to rise (or “proof”…”prove”?). Alternatively, shape your dough into desired breadform (either rolls on a greased baking tray or into a greased loaf tin), and leave that to rise. It takes about 30 mins in a warm dry place, like an airing cupboard, or longer in a cooler place.
  6. Halfway through rising, preheat oven to 200 C for a fan oven, 220 C for a conventional oven.
  7. The dough should double in size. To check if it is done, press two fingers horizontally, firmly into the dough; it should return to its rounded surface fairly quickly. If not, leave for a little longer.
  8. If the dough proofed in its final shape, pop it straight into the oven. Otherwise, shape it now, but try to agitate it as little as possible to retain the internal air-bubbles (for nice, soft bread).
  9. 20-30 minutes should do the trick. Of course, this is a large margin, but every oven is different.
  10. The bread should sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom if it is baked through.
Dough. Pre-rising. I ended up with 6 fairly large rolls.
Dough. Pre-rising. I ended up with 6 fairly large rolls.
My wholemeal rolls! The only question is... cheese or ham?
My wholemeal rolls! The only question is... cheese or ham?

Happy baking!

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