I’m pleased to say that I’m still going with the baking attempts, all inspired by the BBC’s Great British Bake Off series. It definitely helps that last week’s bourbon biscuits went so well, so much so they restored a bit of my baking confidence.
This week on GBBO it was the turn of all things bread, and after my success last year of making focaccia, I was going to just do the same. I didn’t want to run before I could walk with my baking skills. They’re fragile you know. But then, where’s the fun in that?
So I abandoned the focaccia idea and searched the net for something new. But still easy. I know my limits. Also I don’t have an airing cupboard anymore to put proving dough into, so I didn’t want anything with yeast as I just don’t have anywhere to prove it. I came across this recipe for Irish Wheaten Bread. Yeast free. Perfect.
Although it contained many normal household ingredients…like flour… I still didn’t have everything I needed so had to wait until I could get to a shop. Saturday it had to be.
I set to making the bread with my newly bought ingredients and got all the way to the adding of the last ingredient, the buttermilk, when I realised I hadn’t looked at how much I would need before I went shopping. I had only bought half the amount of buttermilk that I needed. Luckily I noticed before I started adding it to the mixture, as I was able to halve the mixture and put that to one side whilst I continued to make a smaller loaf with the other half.
I did then have a few issues with trying to figure out when it was cooked, but doing the tapping the bottom of the loaf thing I’ve seen so many times on Bake Off, it eventually sounded hollow so gathered that was what I was supposed to be hearing out for.
We had the bread with soup for dinner that night, and what did I think of it? I tried a bit on it’s own with just butter, that was really good. Then I tried a bit with some soup, but because there was sugar in the mixture, I didn’t think it went very well so didn’t like it then. And then I tried a bit with jam for pudding and it went back being damn good!
Irish Wheaten Bread – a small bread loaf
175g wholemeal flour
70g bread flour
1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caster sugar (recommended if bread will be used for toast etc. Not, if to be used with savoury foods, e.g. soup)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
225ml buttermilk (plus a little for brushing on top)
- Preheat oven 200C/ 392F/ 6 gas mark
- Lightly flour a baking tray (I used a pizza stone, didn’t make any difference I don’t think)
- Mix together the wholemeal flour, bread flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar (if adding) in a bowl
- Rub the butter into the mixture
- Add the oil and buttermilk and mix together until just combined
- Tip mixture onto a floured surface and knead for up to one minute – no more
- Shape the dough into a ball and place on the floured baking tray
- Cut a cross into the top and brush the top with buttermilk
- Bake for 15 minutes
- Turn the oven down to 180C/ 350F/ 4 gas mark and rotate the bread
- Bake for a further 20 – 25 minutes (until the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when you tap it with your thumb)
- Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack
And that’s how you make Irish Wheaten Bread, well a smaller version of it anyway. Just double the mixture for a family sized loaf.
I will definitely be making this bread again, although I’ll be planning on what I’d be using it for so that I can decide whether or not to add the sugar.
Next week is batter week on Bake Off, it’ll be interesting to see what they make on the show as I’d like to be a bit more adventurous than just making pancakes…but we’ll see.
Until next time. x