I remember watching Channel Four's cookery show, The Fabulous Baker Brothers, for the first time. I envied the Tom and Henry Herbert's kitchen, their enthusiasm and their time (all that time spent just cooking pies, bread and puddings!) but putting my envy aside, I was inspired. Inspiration was fed further with my housemate buying the series' cookbook for my birthday: I've been working through it since.
So far I've cooked a variety of loaves, some of which will be handy staples. However, what follows is my favourite recipe so far.
Actually, I'm not sure if I've got their Six Seed Malted Wheat Loaf absolutely right: one needs 560 grams of malted wheat flour, but so far I've only found mixed grain malthouse bread flour... I'm sure the real mccoy is available somewhere, but I haven't found it yet. Anyway, it still tastes nice, mainly because added to the flour are 85 grams of mixed seeds, like pumpkin, millet, linseed, poppy, sesame and sunflower. (One can buy these individually from most food stores, or in a mixed bag from others.)
Place all these ingredients in a mixing bowl with 10 grams of sea salt, 5 grams of dried yeast, 20 grams of rapeseed or olive oil with 385 grams of tepid water. Mix them all together, then knead by hand for 15 minutes.
Should you find the dough a little wet, worry not; sprinkle a little flour over your sticky fingers and knead into the bread. It should firm up in no time.
Cover and leave for an hour to rise, after which you're supposed to shape and place it in a proving basket, but I don't own one, so I opt to turn it over, cover it and leave it for another hour.
After this, put on your oven as high as it can go. My ancient machine can go up to 200ºC, but if yours can go up to 240ºC, knock yourself out. Place your dough in a floured baking tray, slash its top and place it in your hot oven, turning it down to 210ºC after ten minutes. (Or, if you have a cooker like mine, just leave the temperature as is.)
About half an hour later, take the loaf out, turn onto a metal rack and leave it to stand. Cut a still warm slice and smear the seed-filled bread with butter and let the flavours fill your mouth. It is absolutely delicious: nutty and nourishing. One for sandwiches or enjoying by itself.