… whilst nurturing a sourdough is fun it can sometimes feel like a chore, feeding the blighter every week… for goodness sake… plus my most recent trials haven’t been as successful as the first one so it’s nice, once in a while to have a normal loaf to lust after… and this beauty was surprisingly easy to bake, I almost feel like i’ve cheated, especially doing the low-knead method (see below) that I now use for all my bread and bun baking…
… I bought one of these Allinson multi-grain flours which contains white bread flour blended with malted wheat flakes, rye flour and malted wheat and barley flour and simply followed the recipe instructions on the back of the packet… and the loaf is delicious, light, nutty and nicely sweet from the malt…
country grain loaf
500g flour (you could mix your own… I would say 70% white flour)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar (I used some Lincolnshire honey)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons fast action dried yeast (roughly 7g)
300ml warm water
some olive oil for the low-kneading
here’s the low-knead method that I think i’ve now just about perfected… I first saw it in a D. Lepard book but have since seen it in a lot of places and have tweaked it so that it works for me… the essence of its brilliance is that bread rising is all about time, not kneading, so rather than spend 10 minutes pounding away at the dough to achieve that wonderful softness you leave it alone but give it a regular low knead… you can see for yourself that it works but you’ll have to try it to really believe how soft the dough is…
– place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, add the water and bring together into a shaggy ball (I use my rubber spatula for this but a good old-fashion hand would work just as well…)
– place a tea towel over the bowl and set it aside for 10 minutes
– after 10 minutes drizzle some olive oil onto your work surface and spread it out with your hand… tip the shaggy dough onto the oil and then drizzle some more oil into the bowl and spread that around the inside too… if you don’t want to use oil you can use warm water just as effectively… simply have the tap running and keep putting our hand under the water before you handle the dough… i’ve done both ways successfully.
– now place the heel of your hand into the dough ball and push the dough away from you stretching it as you go, drip the far edge of the dough and pull it back onto itself, in essence folding it… turn the dough 1 quarter and do the same ‘stretch and fold’ technique… repeat this for only 8 times… it should take you no longer that 8 seconds to complete and you should already feel the dough soften and fill with air
– back into the bowl and cover with the tea towel
– repeat this method twice more… by the third time you will have soft, silky dough… now cover and let it double in size… which should take about an hour (I put mine in the airing cupboard)
– after an hour prepare either a loaf tin or a baking sheet with some baking parchment
– drizzle some oil onto your work surface again and repeat the 8 stretch and turn technique, then mould the bread into the shape of your choice and let it rise once more either in the loaf tin or on the tray for 30 minutes
– once you’re ready to bake either slash the top of the loaf with a sharp knife or brush with a beaten egg and bake for 30 minutes on 190C
eat and of course, enjoy!
Have I ever told you how much I love bread? Forget chocolate, cheese, wine – my weakness is real bread. This looks so good.
There is nothing that says home more than a loaf of delicious bread baking in the oven.
i love a malted loaf!! my parents brought me some flour up from norfolk…can't wait to use it. having some troubles with my 50/50 loaf…need to go back to 75/25 i think…how do the supermarkets do it! huh?
Karen S Booth says
I am a BIG fan of anything malted in baking and this bread looks amazing Dom, so full of flavour and texture, lovely!
Javelin Warrior says
This is a beautiful and (dare I say it?) rustic loaf of bread, Dom – and I love your low-knead method. I've never tried this, but I rarely knead by hand anyway and almost always involve a machine. However, I suspect the low-knew method is really the secret behind breach machines (which I almost always use) as they really don't have the power to aggressively knead the dough but the bread cycles frequently “disturb” the dough… Fascinating post…
Dom this loaf looks so perfect! Have a lovely evening
Mark Willis says
I agree with the other commenters: a good loaf of bread has to be one of the most desirable food items ever. Yours looks like a perfect example of the genre.
Lovely and simple, sometimes faffing around with 'demanding' methods doesn't always produce results that are so much better than the easy ones. Your loaf looks excllent!
What a perfect loaf! I'd rather eat a good slice of bread than dessert…yum! I popped over from Javelin Warrior…loved his feature on you!
From Beyond My Kitchen Window says
The color of the loaf is beautiful. It looks like the crust has a good crunch to it too. Isn't it nice to eat a good grainy bread every once in a while?
Dom, I've been meaning to tell you this for some time: you do not need to feed your sourdough every week, etc, – simply make up a batch of sourdough, divide into walnut size portions and freeze… that's all there is to to and you'll never lose your dough again. (got this from Dan Lepard himself!)
PS you can also add some sourdough to each loaf, making it simple to use and adding texture and flavour to it – for some excellent examples, see Dan's first book, the Homemade Loaf.
Inside a British Mum's Kitchen says
This looks like a wonderful loaf – straight forward and delicious –
Magnolia Verandah says
What great looking bread, must really try your low knead method, this takes all the hard elbow work out of breadmaking. Might have to agree with the Javelin warrior bread makers probably use this method in essence.
Looks like the perfect loaf of bread, Dom! I bet it smelled so gooooood while it baked!
Shu Han says
that low knead method has really piqued my interest. if it can save me some arm work, I honestly dont midn giving it a try. one of my favourite (sourdough) bread recipes is a no-knead technique, so I really think that the slow-rising thing being the key to bread rising may have a thing to it! your loaf looks bloody brilliant btw, looks good enough to be sold in an artisan bakery (:
Lovely looking loaf Dom. it's funny how bread making techniques have changed in recent years – dough is so much wetter now than it used to be and no knead or low knead seems to be the way to go. it works.