I’ve been playing around some more with the natural leaven made by the delightful Miss Daisy Bennett, and have a new recipe, it uses both natural leaven and also dry yeast (I can’t seem to source fresh yeast in Norwich anymore so had to start using dry yeast which comes in a little tin. Of the ones I’ve tried, I’ve had the best results with Allinson’s Dry Yeast)
It does take a good old while to rise but you can just leave it be and get on with whatever else you are doing before going back to it. And kneading a loaf of bread by hand just can’t be beat, it’s lovely and relaxing and is a nice work out for tired hands and fingers.
This toasts up really well (it smelt lovely) and the Arpette said it made nice sandwiches too. It also stayed fresh for a good few days. This makes for a proper big loaf, it only just fit in our bread tin, but I guess if you have a big family it’s soon going to be eaten up.
I’ve also made it with a handful of seeds (sunflower and sesame) and the Arpette also gave that a thumbs up.
All our flour for bread making comes from Shipton Mill, and I also use their cake and pastry flour for making pastry. It’s quite exciting to get the delivery, a big sack of flour arrives along with lots of smaller bags of fancy flour…generally I end up baking something the same day.
Ingredients for the sponge
1 tsp of dry yeast (if you use fresh yeast then I guess you’d need twice that amount)
1 desert spoon (like you’d eat pudding or cereal with) of good quality honey
150 g of starter (natural leaven)
400 ml of warm water
200 g bread flour (I always use Shipton’s bread flour)
100 g whole rolled oats (I like Flahavans or Mornflake jumbo oats)
Rest of Ingredients
200 g bread flour
200 g of spelt flour
(or just use 400 g of bread flour if you don’t have spelt)
a good glug of sunflower oil
Maldon sea salt (or similar), ground fine
some extra bread flour for when you are kneading
(a handful of seeds if you want to get fancy)
First of all you need to make a sponge, so in a large bowl, add the yeast, honey, starter and warm water to the bread flour and rolled oats. Mix and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave for 30 – 45 minutes until it’s nice and bubbly.
Then add the rest of the flour, the salt and the glug of oil, if you are using them, add the seeds here too.
Begin to knead and add more flour if you need it. Turn out on to a work surface and knead until the dough becomes silky and supple. While you are doing this it helps if you can fill the bowl with warm water so you can get it clean and ready for when the bread proves.
Lightly oil the clean bowl and pop in the dough. Cover with the clean tea towel and leave to prove (or rise) until it’s doubled (around 3 hours)
Once the dough has doubled, gently knock back and place in a round floured proving basket or banneton (I bought an extra large one from Shipton Mill and it’s brilliant) cover with some floured muslin or a tea towel and allow to prove for a further 40 minutes or so….
After 20 minutes, turn your oven on to gas 7. Allow your oven to get nice and hot, about 20 minutes.
Turn the dough on to a baking sheet (I tend to line mine with a sheet of baking parchment) and bake at gas 7 for 20 minutes, then turn down to gas 6 and continue to bake for another 35/40 minutes.
Remove and stand on a cooling rack, allow to fully cool before eating. (very good with salty butter)