Lockdown Bread 3 Ways - Maria Harper of The Edinburgh Canape Company
Most of us are now spending our days at home, something unheard of only a couple of months ago. The concept of time has changed dramatically. We now have time to truly engage with our family, to nurture our children because we are with them all day. Even if we are juggling between working from home while playing a few other roles such as teacher, cleaner and cook we still have plenty time to do lovely things for each other. And those of you without children I’m sure are going through your lists of DIY, finally learning a new language or maybe reading book after book without interruption, all those wonderful things that we Mum’s struggle to fit into our busy day.
The trick is to use of all this time at home wisely. We need to find something to do to keep us sane, to help us make it to the end of the tunnel without losing it. And I have the answer: make your own bread! There is nothing more rewarding that the smell and taste of your very own homemade bread. Your family will love it and I’m sure as long as you feed them bread, children will do all their homework, partners will share the cleaning fairly….it’s win win situation, I can testify to that!
On a personal level, making bread is remarkably therapeutic, the whole experience of massaging your dough in rhythmic motions can be very meditative, or kneading with passion can be a great outlet for anger and frustration and it’s also a great workout for your arms. I can assure you, the first good loaf that comes out of the oven is going to change your life!
It doesn’t matter if you like cooking or not, I have friends who can’t be bothered cooking but their sourdough bread is remarkable. I love cooking, it is definitely my thing, I find it very therapeutic and one of the best creative outlets I have found. Like many of yours, my business unfortunately is dormant at the moment, and because it’s a catering service, it is going to take time before I can cook for others again. But we still have blogs and social media so I have decided to share my love for food by giving recipes away and hopefully getting people excited about cooking creatively and making wonderful dishes for their family.
Enough chat, let’s get to business. I’m going to share with you three bread recipes, a super easy, a medium easy (if you can get hold of yeast) and finally for those more adventurous a sourdough, (which is not as complicated as it sounds, only 3 ingredients: flour, water and little salt).
Now, as you may know there is a flour crisis at the moment, but don’t worry you can still find wheat flour easily, it’s the other types that are hard to come by. I love exploring with different flours but because they are not available I won’t bother you just now. Check my tips for where to buy flour below.
The first recipe is a flat bread, very simple and quick. No oven, only a hot pan. You don’t even need to wait for any proofing, you can cook it straight away.
Flat Bread (makes 6)
200g plain or wholemeal flour (or any flour you can find in your pantry)
4g fine sea salt
100ml tepid water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 Place flour and salt in a big bowl.
2 Add water bit by bit while mixing together and when it starts to come together add the olive oil and keep mixing with your hands to create a dough.
3 Knead dough on a worktop for 5 minutes.
4 Separate the dough into golf ball size.
5 Heat a (20cm approx) pan in a medium-high heat.
6 Roll the dough balls with a rolling pin into a circle that will fit into your pan.
7 Brush the pan with very little oil. Cook each bread 2 minutes on each side. Voila! Bread is ready. This bread doesn’t keep well, make only as many as you need to avoid waste.
500g flour (I usually mix 250 strong white bread, 250 wholemeal either wheat or spelt)
3 tbs porridge oats
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp dried yeast
350ml tepid water
3 tbsp olive oil + more for oiling bowl and tin
1 Place flour, oats, salt and yeast on a large bowl and mix together.
2 Make a well in the middle and add the water gradually while mixing, when it starts to come together add the olive oil and mix it with your hands.
3 Once the dough is formed, knead for 10 uninterrupted minutes on a worktop. Place the dough on an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm place, ideally away from draft, for one or two hours or until it doubles in size.
4 Meanwhile heat your oven to 210 /190 fan oven and oil your bread tin (and add greaseproof paper to make your life easier).
5 Knead again for 3min. If you like to add seeds this is the moment.
6 Place dough inside the tin, cover with cling film or a loose bag and leave to proof for another hour.
7 Cook in the middle of the oven for 35 minutes. Rest on a rack for at least a couple of hours. Enjoy!
This bread lasts for 3 days, after that slice it and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. From the freezer, straight to the toaster, no need to de-frost.
Easy overnight no-knead Sourdough
Ingredients for starter:
190 organic wholemeal flour (if available, otherwise strong white flour)
120ml tepid water
Ingredients for the bread:
150g wholemeal flour
450g strong white flour
400g tepid water
If it’s your first time making sourdough you need to create your own starter. It only takes 4 days to create an active fermented starter.
Day 1: Using a super clean glass jar or plastic tub with a lid, mix 30g of wholemeal flour with 30g of water, close it. Leave it in a warm place, away from draft.
Day 2 and 3: Add to yesterday’s mix another 30g of flour and 30g water each day. (known as ‘a feed’)
Day 4: Add to yesterday’s mix 90g wholemeal flour and 45g water.
By day 4 your starter should be bubbly and showing signs of life, teeming with yeast and lactic acid bacteria and giving a vinegary interesting aroma. If you are not going to use your starter right away you can keep it in the fridge until needed, but young starters will need at least a weekly feed. Normally you will create a ‘sponge’ or ‘production sourdough’ to make sourdough bread, but not for this overnight recipe. This bread is easier but it takes much longer, if you plan it well, it takes hardly any work as ‘it makes itself’. Keep in mind that it takes more or less 24 hours. So always plan in advance.
When you are ready to make bread mix in a large bowl 400g of tepid water with 20g of your starter (put back the rest in the fridge). Add the flour (150g wholemeal and 450 white) and salt, using your hands mix well until all lumps are gone. Bring it together working the dough no longer than a minute. This is a very wet dough, to avoid sticking wet your hands. Now you have the option to put the dough directly in a tin, proofing basket or a bowl with a floured cloth inside (if you have rice flour for this even better, the rice flour will stop the dough from sticking to the cloth). Cover with a loose bag, ideally a large polythene bag that can be slightly inflated, to prevent contact with the dough. Leave it at room temperature for 2hrs. Then transfer to a cooler place (10-12 degrees) for 16 hours (I leave it inside my oven). Next day, unless the dough has risen fully (doubling it size), bring back the bowl or tin to a warm place to finish proofing. Depending on the strength of the starter and the temperature this period might vary between 2 to 5 hours. Heat your oven to the highest 210 /230 fan. Just before going to the oven, create some cuts with a very sharp knife to create some tension on the crust.
Options for cooking your bread:
1 If cooking in a cast iron pot, heat it inside the oven. From the proofing basket or floured cloth-bowl turn the dough with much care into the hot pot, close the lid and place in the oven. Cook for 10minutes and turn the heat down by 20 degrees for the next 20 minutes, without opening the door. After those 20min, take the lid off and cook for another 15 minutes to brown your bread.
2 If cooking in the tin, place the tin in the oven, cook for 10 minutes and turn the heat down by 20 degrees for the next 40minutes, without opening the door.
3 If cooking on a hot stone, place your bread from proofing basket or floured cloth-bowl into the stone. Follow the same instructions as the tin bread.
Once out of the oven, leave on a rack to cool down completely before cutting, ideally leave it for 10 hours, the flavours will intensify. This bread can last for a whole week, if there is anything left (although I doubt it) you can keep it in the freezer.
Flour chat: If you are Midlothian based the fabulous Storehouse in Penicuik still stocks Mungoswells organic flour which is brilliant, they have both strong white flour and wholemeal. They have supplied me all the way through the lockdown.
If you like more recipes please visit my www.facebook.com/edinburghcanapes and like my page
or find me in Instagram @the-edinburgh-canape-company if you want to know more about my business please visit www.theedinburghcanapecompany.com