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Making Wholemeal Bread

Monday, 1st March 2021

This leads on from the breadmaking blog from 3 weeks ago

I first made this loaf in lockdown 1: I only had wholemeal flour. Not that it was a problem but I wanted to make it tasty and go with other things I had in the cupboard (see soup recipe following).

Wholemeal flour absorbs more water: the bran  takes it up. The date syrup is a brilliant ingredient as it adds sweetness but is a very natural sugar (wholemeal bread really benefits from a little sugar to help the yeast and gives a ‘roundness’ to the flavour); I normally use malt extract which is similar but never had any (you find that in jars in health food shops). Oil or fat helps develop the structure of the loaf- so these ingredients all have a purpose. As I said in the last bread blog the basic bread ingredients are flour, water, yeast and salt. 

Adding the walnuts and raisins again develops the flavour profile: Raisins contain fibre and vitamins, they are also dried naturally in the sun, most come from the Thompson grape (which is green!). If you want to read more  about raisins try California raisins UK website- they have lots of recipes and information.  California raisins  Walnuts contain ‘good fats’ (polyunsaturated)  Omega 3 and vitamin E. 

When making the dough follow the instructions: It is important to knead well- you can do the same as the focaccia- knead for a few mins- rest for 10- knead again, helps if you are struggling to get the texture. Dough is now left (see recipe)

I have French proving basket (called a banneton). I love it: it must be floured well. It gives the dough a good shape. You could also tins, round or rectangular, the dough makes a large loaf or two smaller ones, or a baking sheet- but whichever you use make sure you cover the proving pieces as they form a thick skin that is not very nice to eat once baked. 

Once your bread has proved (doubled in size), I would flour the top- if you use a serrated knife you make some decorative cuts now- they can also help expansion in the oven, (baking  instructions on the recipe). Flouring makes the crust look and taste  nice- it is really hard to get a good crust in a domestic oven as commercial ovens have a steam function which gives better crust.

I have included a soup recipe: a vegetarian version of Minestrone It is loaded with vegetables (it would be easily adjusted to be vegan-check your stock cubes and pasta).  Again you could change the vegetables to use up what’s in the fridge (or use frozen).  This becomes a hearty meal! 

Wholemeal Walnut & Raisin Bread 

500 g     Wholemeal Flour

7 g     Sachet of Fast Action Yeast 

20 mls     Olive Oil (or Rapeseed Oil) 

320 mls     Warm Water

8 g     Salt

20 g     Date Syrup/Black Treacle or Malt Extract 

75 g     Walnuts

75 g     Raisins              

  1. Stir oil and syrup into water
  2. In a bowl add the flour and stir in yeast and salt
  3. Now stir in walnuts and raisins (if using mixer add towards edd of mixing) 
  4. Add the water, combine. 
  5. Knead well to form a dough
  6. Wrap and rest until double in size (about an hour)
  7. The dough can be divided in 2 for 2 small loaves, or one large
  8. Shape into a long or round shape/ I have a proving basket for home- it takes the  whole piece of dough- this has to be dusted with flour and the top of the loaf goes on the bottom.
  9. Cover and leave to rise- 1hr approx (use oiled cling film) Loaf should double in size 
  10. I would flour the top of the loaf now if using a tin or tray- make a few cuts on top. 
  11. Bake in a hot oven (220-30*C)  gas mark 6/7 for 30-40 mins + (until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped).  To create steam in the oven place a roasting tin in the base of the oven and pour boiling water in just before I put the loaf in. 

Easy Minestrone Soup

It is a hearty soup which contains lots of vitamins- approx 4 servings

To make it look professional garnish each bowl with chopped parsley 

1     Onion

2     Carrots

3     Sticks of Celery

1     Tablespoon of Oil

2     Cloves of Garlic Chopped Small (optional)

1 x     400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes

1 x      400g Tin of Cannellini Beans (but you could use Baked Beans – wash off juice)

2     Tablespoons of Tomato Puree

100 g     Small Pasta Pieces (or Spaghetti broken up) 

!     Vegetable Stock Cube

1     Litre of Water 

½     A Small Cabbage, or Kale, or Spinach, or a mug of Frozen Peas 

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Chop the veg into small pieces- try and keep them all the same size – shred the cabbage (leave to one side)
  2. Fry the celery, onion and carrot in the oil until onions go clear
  3. Add the garlic- fry one minute
  4. Add the tomato puree, tomatoes, water and stock cube- bring to the boil- simmer for 15 minutes
  5. Add the beans and pasta-cook for 10 minutes
  6. Then add the cabbage and cook for 3 more minutes- check seasoning -add a little more water if it’s too thick for you but this is a hearty soup!  – taste and adjust seasoning if required.
  7. Serve with fresh bread 

Happy cooking!

– Sue, Hospitality & Catering lecturer

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