Our Daily Bread plus a simple bread recipe
Good quality wholemeal bread is a great source of protein, fibre and other nutritional goodies. However, despite the claims to be ‘wholemeal’ or ‘fresh’, most bread from supermarkets or big commercial bakery chains isn't all it might be. Many supermarket in-house bakeries use ready-made mixes (complete with additives, flour-enhancers et al) rather than baking from scratch. Our daily bread wasn’t always like this! Since World War II, bread manufacturers have done their best to produce bread as quickly as possible – meaning bigger profits to them and worse health for us. Making bread rise more quickly means that more gluten has to be added, along with other dodgy extras such as ‘chemical improvers’, hydrogenated or fractionised fats, extra salt and extra yeast. Such ingredients don’t necessarily have to be listed separately under the law, either. There may be more than one reason why wheat and gluten intolerances are on the rise – far higher than pre-war - but unnecessary additives can't help. Not only this, but the nutritional quality has gone down. Commercial bread-making has a big role to play in all these problems. So, what do you do if you want good quality, unadulterated bread? Buy good quality, preferably from a specialist bakery Look for better quality in supermarkets, eg Duchy Look for stoneground organic - the regulations are much stricter as to what cannot be added Alternatively, make your own.
Breadmakers make this a doddle! Prices range from £37 to the hundreds, but one of the best rated is around £76. They are easy to use and pay for themselves very quickly. I've got a Panasonic and it's fantastic! You stick in the ingredients at night, set the timer and have a fresh baked loaf in the morning! Or make it any other time you want. It can also be used to make the dough and then bake in the oven. Better models even let you add extras like seeds, nuts and dried fruit. The hopper for these has never worked on mine but I just add the seeds to the basic mix and it's fine. Good combinations are mushroom and rosemary or sun-dried tomato and olive. Finally, bread machine manufacturers frequently add butter, eggs and/or dried milk in their recipes, but none of these are necessary - I make excellent bread in my machine without them. Here's a simple, delicious basic recipe.
70% Wholemeal loaf
Makes 1 extra large loaf | Time: 5 hours
This is a lovely loaf - it has all the goodness of wholemeal but is a wee bit lighter.
It can also be made entirely with wholemeal flour, see handbook link below.
Recipe 'veganised' from Panasonic's Programme 4 70% Wholemeal Loaf recipe with thanks (page 23 - with variants for a small or medium loaf)
- 1½ tsp quick yeast eg Dove's Farm (comes in a vacuum pack, works out much cheaper than sachets)
- 2 tsp sugar, any type as long as it's vegan!
- 425g strong wholemeal bread flour
- 175g strong white bread flour
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, any mild kind although olive or cold-pressed rapeseed very good
- 430ml warm water, wrist temperature, ie not too hot or it will kill the yeast
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp gram flour (chickpea/besan flour) or soya flour
- A good handful of seeds, eg sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, poppy - a mixture is very nice
- Make sure the paddle is fitted correctly inside the bread tin. Then make sure the bread tin is placed correctly inside the breadmaker.
- Next, place the above ingredients into the bread tin in exactly the order they are listed (it's important to avoid getting the salt near the yeast as it can destroy it!)
- Press the menu button to programme 4 if using a Panasonic. The other settings will come up automatically so no need for anything else. Just press the 'start' button and you're off! If using another brand of breadmaker, check for an equivalent recipe with more or less identical ratios of flour to liquid.
- When the loaf is baked, lift the lid to let it cool. Use a cloth to pick up the handle to ensure you don't burn your hand.
- Gently tip the loaf upside down onto a cooling rack (a clean grill pan grid will do). With better models, the paddle doesn't usually stick in the bread but if it has, remove gently from the bottom of the loaf.
- Let the loaf cool before wrapping it in a clean plastic bag. Store in a cool place. Aftercare
- To clean the machine, remove the paddle from the baking tin and soak both in warm soapy water. You may need to use a dishwasher brush to poke out residue from the hole in the paddle. Rinse and dry.
- Use a hoover - very gently and with the thin ledge attachment - occasionally to remove any spilled flour in the main body of the machine and stop it burning on. Obviously, don't use water or anything wet inside. But you can wipe the outside of the machine clean.
- Return the clean dry paddle and bread tin back to the machine and slot gently in.