Friday, 13 July 2012
Give us this day our daily bread . . .
(The new header, by the way, is a photo taken a few years back at Powis Castle. The gardens there are amazing. I reluctantly changed the previous roses photo from Haddon Hall as it was cheering me up so much, but I may return to a similar one shortly. Watch this space.)
I don't make my own bread all the time - recently, whilst I've been poorly, it has been "boughten" bread, but good quality loaves. Rhonda, over on the Down to Earth blogspot has recently posted about her 5 minute bread recipe. I have made this in the past too, and it makes an absolutely cracking loaf - SO tasty. It makes you think that this concept of bread making is a new one. But no. . . One of the books I got in Hay-on-Wye this week, mentions a similar "wet-dough" method:
3 lbs of whole wheat flour
2 oz yeast
1 tablespoonful of molasses, treacle, honey or brown sugar
warm water or milk-and-water, about a quart
Put the flour in a warm basin and add the salt. Mix the yeast to a cream with a little warm water or milk. Add this to the flour, with the sweetening; stir with a wooden spoon, adding warm liquid till the dough is of the consistency of cake mixture; wetter than ordinary dough. Fill bread tins about two-thirds full and leave to rise in a warm place until the dough is almost level with the tops of the tins. Bake in a moderate oven for 3/4 of an hour and take from the tins to col on a rack. Do not cut for at least 24 hours: this bread improves with keeping and remains good for a week.
Taken from: The Unsought Farm by Monica Edwards.
I am going to try that this week and will report back, with photos.
And here is a bit on bread making taken from Edward Thomas' biography of Richard Jefferies:
"They still baked a batch of bread occasionally, but not all that was required. Cicely superintended the baking, passing the barm through a sieve with a wisp of clean hay in it. The hay takes off any sourness, and insures it being perfectly sweet. She knew when the oven was hot enough by the guage-brick: this particular brick, as the heat increased, became spotted with white, and when it had turned quite white, the oven was ready. The wood embers were raked out with the scraper, and the malkin, being wetted, cleaned out the ashes. Thee looks like a gurt malkin' is a common term of reproach among the poor folk - meaning a bunch of rags on the end of a stick. We went out to look at the oven; and then Mrs Luckett made me taste her black-currant gin, which was very good. (Note to self: I just HAVE to try making this!!! I've been picking blackcurrants from the garden this week. Recipe HERE). Presently we went into the orchard to look at the first apple-tree out in bloom. While there a magpie flew across the meadow, and as I watched it, Mrs Luckett advised me to turn my back and not to look too long in that direction. 'For,' said she, 'one magpie is good luck, but two mean sorrow; and if you should see three - goodness! - something awful might happen.' "
This book is an absolute joy, and I now have to look out for books of Richard Jefferies in my travels . . .