Bread is one of my favourite foods on earth, but it also is an intimidating area for the novice baker so it’s an area I’ve skirted around for the last few years. Every now and again, I attempt to make a loaf of bread and inevitably it doesn’t turn out quite right- normally too heavy or it didn’t rise properly.
Recently, a quick read through Richard Bertinet’s Dough makes me realise exactly where I was going wrong. It turns out I was kneading so much extra flour into my dough that my bread was going to be stodgy and heavy. Bertinet advises that bread should be turned out on a clean worktop with no flour, meaning no extra flour is being kneaded into the dough and the moisture content in the original recipe remains the same. Instead, the baker should trust in the recipe to bring the ingredients together without any extra flour. Needless to say, I was nervous turning the dough out without any flour to prevent my worktop from turning into a sticky mess but I ended up with the most beautifully elastic dough and a clean worktop.
With this technique in mind, I tackled Mary Berry’s Wholemeal Country Loaf. This recipe is very straight forward and while it is a densely crumbed bread, it is also beautifully soft and perfect with a bowl of hot soup or toasted for breakfast. It should be noted that while the recipe calls for strong wholemeal flour, I used regular coarse wholemeal flour from Odlums as none of my local supermarkets carry strong wholemeal flour.
Wholemeal Country Loaf
20-25 minutes preparation, 2- 2.5 hours rising, 25 minutes baking