Some of you might know that I’ve been trying a low carb diet for the past few months. While I’ve been generally feeling less lethargic and slightly healthier, I haven’t continued to lose weight after the first month, so I’ve changed tack and am now trying weightwatchers again.
But that’s all dull. Diets are dull. People who talk about diets (as opposed to food) are dull. OK, they’re not all dull, but it’s the food that is inherently interesting, not the way my body or your body metabolises it. Isn’t it?
Anyway, the low carb thing had meant that I’d stopped buying or making bread. I thought this would be really hard; I love bread. I love hot toast with butter. I love bread and honey. I love bread and butter pudding. I love toasted cheese on toast. I love croutons. I love fingers of toast with butter and marmite. And peanut butter. It’s really no wonder I’m overweight, is it?
However, I found giving up bread much easier than I imagined. It’s nice to have an egg for breakfast. Two is better. Scrambled with a bit of butter and a teeny wee pinch of Maldon sea salt is divine, especially with a good grinding of black pepper once it’s served. And really, it doesn’t need toast to make it a superlative breakfast. Lightly boiled eggs for breakfast are also a winning start to the morning. And genuinely, since I started having eggs instead of toast or porridge for breakfast, I’ve found I don’t get hungry and want a snack mid morning. And that’s a good thing, as when I WANT a snack, I tend to have a snack.
But… all this is dull diet stuff. The important thing is that I decided to quit this low carb regime, which meant a renewed interest in bready goods again. Now, if I’m going to eat bread, I’m going to eat the nicest bread I can have. And that, for me, means making it myself. It could also mean going to Strathaven and buying bread from Alexander Taylor‘s but I’m not sure I can justify the food miles every week. They were at the local farmers’ market yesterday, but I’d completely forgotten it was the first weekend of the month and forgot to go. Ah well, next month.
For a while I’ve been thinking about flour. I want artisanal flour. Yeah, I know how middle class that sounds. What I mean is that I want great quality flour which will make superb loaves almost without thinking. And, here’s the romantic in me, I want it to come from a proper mill. A watermill, or a windmill, I don’t mind. I want the wheat to be organic, and GM free. I want to know that the millers are using time honoured traditional methods to mill my flour. Is that too much to ask?
Clearly it’s not. I researched a few places online and kept coming back to a Welsh mill, Bacheldre Mill. Take a look, I think you’ll like the cut of their jib. They are artisanal millers of exceptional flours, so they say. And I would tend to agree.
So, this week we took delivery of 16kg of stoneground unbleached white flour and 4 x 1.5kg bags of their malted 5 seed flour. And oooh la la, I’m a happy baker. OK, I’ve only used the bread machine so far. Yup, I said it. I use a bread machine. And I am not ashamed of that. It is easy, it is quick (in terms of my time input) and it produces delicious bread with great texture. Most of the time.
So, on Friday night I made a 5 seed loaf. I’d forgotten there was fennel in it, which gives it that lovely almost aniseedy kick. Great with smoked cheddar (from The Galloway Smokehouse at Carsluith) and home made apple chutney. Also great with home made blackcurrant jelly, allegedly. I suspect it will add a new dimension to home made pizza too.
Anyway, such is my love for this proper flour that I am moved to make a new sourdough starter. I had a sourdough starter last year and loved it… but one fateful weekend I made a loaf and forgot to keep back any of the starter and that was the end of it. So, it is definitely time to make some more. I love sourdough. It doesn’t have the easy nature of the machine bread, but it rewards you with great flavour and texture. And in the end doesn’t really take up too much time, if you’re organised (which contrary to popular belief, I am).
Anyway, here is my bread machine recipe for Bacheldre Mill’s 5 Seed Loaf.
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp milk powder
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (I used half olive, half sunflower oil)
- 2 heaped Tbsp soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups Bacheldre Mill’s malted 5 seed flour
- 1 cup strong white flour
- 1 tsp fast action yeast
- Add the ingredients, in the order they are listed, to the tin in your bread machine
- Cook on 1 1/2lb wholemeal setting
Voila! You have delicious tasty bread.
I think it’s steak sandwiches later. That’s if I can resist making some pizza.