Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bread Baking at Home

Nothing, and I mean nothing, fills the home with homely gourmet delight than the smell of fresh baked bread. Leaving aside the potentials of soft doughy white bread confections there is a whole world of toasty, crusty, tasty possibilities that come under the heading "Bread".

Now I have to be honest as I don't eat bread myself for various reason not gluten related, but I can live vicariously through my bread eating family and the heavenly scents that are my enjoyment of the bread making process.

Basic Bread

65gm Yeast disolved in luke warm water
800gm self raising flour
1/8 cup raw sugar
large pinch salt
400ml water, room temperature

Mix the dry ingredients well and make a well and add the water and yeast. bring the dough together gently without over working. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl , cover and allow to rise for at least 1/2 hour in a warm position.

Divide the dough into 2 and  shape into loaf desired. Now is when you add any flavour elements you desire. Allow to rise for another 1/2. Shape into final loaf and embelish buy slashing the crust or glase as desired. Please into lightly greased tin and bake in a 220degC oven for 45 mins. Makes 2 loaves.

Check loaf is cooked through by tapping and it should sound hollow. Cool on a rake. The smell will tempt you to burn your mouth - just add butter!

Sourdough Starter
and wholemeal spelt flour

Sourdough Starter Recipe 

  • 1 small handful (1/4 to 1/3 cup) white (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of water
Tools & equipment
  • a small bowl
  • a towel, napkin, or other piece of cloth (not terry)
  • a large spoon
  1. In a mound of flour, make a small well and add the water.
  2. Slowly mix the flour and the water, bringing more flour into the center of the well. The mixture will gradually transform from a paste into a small piece of dough.
  3. Knead this small piece of dough with your fingers for about 5-8 minutes, until it becomes springy.
  4. Place the dough in a small bowl, cover it with a damp towel, and let it sit in a warm spot for 2 or 3 days.
  5. When it's ready, the dough will be moist, wrinkled, and crusty. If you pull off a piece of the crust, you'll find tiny bubbles and smell a sweet aroma.
  6. Throw away any hardened crust. "Refresh" the remaining piece by mixing it with twice the original amount of flour and enough water to make a firm dough. Set aside as before.
  7. After 1 or 2 days the starter will have a new, fresh look. Remove any dried dough and mix with about 1 cup of flour.
  8. Once again, cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm place for another 18-12 hours.
  9. When the starter is ready, it will appear fully risen, and a small indentation made with a finger won't spring back.

Now the starter is ready to be used in virtually any sourdough recipe.
Remember to save a small piece of the starter: You can put it in the refrigerator for several days, then refresh it again as above and use it to make another loaf. A good starter will serve you for years to come!

The above is a typical 'true' Sourdough recipe, I have seen several that allow you to utilize a commercial yeast, whilst this allows you to make a starter in a much shorter time frame, and stops the higher risk of introducing a non-suitable 'wild yeast' to the starter, it does not allow you to get the real smell and taste of sourdough.

We were lucky enough to receive a 15 year old starter from San Fransisco Bay area from friend at The Rustic Pantry in Moruya. Due to the amazing resilience of the starter, it can survive for a month in a refrigerator, and be restored to baking quality in less than 18 hours by simply adding a cup of the chosen flour and a cup of lukewarm water, and mixing well to remove any lumps, and storing on a room temperature bench, or shelf until it is required for production of bread.

Wholemeal Spelt Sourdough Recipe
A good Knead

  • 1 cup of revived Sour dough starter
  • 5 cups of water
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 13 cups of Wholemeal Spelt flour
  • 4-6 teaspoons of salt

Mix the culture, water, oil and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add flour until too stiff to mix with a wooden spoon or by hand. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead well, adding any remaining flour from the original recipe. When no more flour will be taken up by the dough whilst kneading it is ready for the next step.

Fold the dough into a nice uniform round and place into a container that has been very lightly wiped with olive oil (remember the round will increase in size at least by double, so make the container of a corresponding size!) and cover with a damp tea-towel, and proof in a kitchen over night, or longer in a cooler area. next morning punch it down gently, and kneed for 1-2 minutes and make into 2 large or 4 smaller loaves ( or a heap of bread and rolls as I did :) ) and proof again for 3-5 hours at kitchen temperature.

wholemeal spelt soughdough
Again expect volume to double at the least. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius, and bake each loaf for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180 degrees Celsius for a further 20 minutes (this time will depend entirely on the size of your loaves, so check the bread after 10 minutes by tapping the bottom of the loaf with a finger tip, if it rings back with a solid thud it is perfectly done, if it doesn't sound like a drum it may need more time). Turn out immediately onto a wire rack to cool, or get a big pile of butter and start eating whilst it is hot :)
Wholemeal spelt sourdough rolls

I had great fun making my first ever Wholemeal Spelt Sourdough bread, because of the wholemeal texture of the Spelt Flour (that I also got from The Rustic Pantry thanks to Bronywn) It was a real shoulder work out, and I had great difficulty actually holding my mobile phone still enough to take the pictures :P. The next day I made 5 saucer sized, croissant shaped buns, 2 normal loaves, and 1 Cob loaf.

Sour Dough Crumpets

  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 90g Sour Dough Starter
  • 260g warmish Water
  • 60g sugar
  • 2g salt

With a chopstick, agitate the starter and water to disperse the starter.  Then continue to incorporate the flour into a smooth batter.  You can leave it to autolyse for a time if you wish.
Add the sugar and salt and give a good mix with the chopstick for a couple of minutes.
Cover the jug with Glad-wrap and leave on the bench to rise.  The volume increase will depend, but should be at least 50-100%.  Depending on your temperature this might be anything from a few hours to overnight.  Try not to let get to the stage where the volume is decreasing.
Set your electric fry-pan to 295F (or whatever experience tells you is good).  Give the fry-pan and your crumpet rings (100mm*20mm) a light wipe with your favorite source of fat.
Place the rings (four rings just fit nicely) in the pan and give a few minutes to heat up.  Pour batter from the jug to half fill the rings.  This takes a bit of practice due to the gloopy nature of the batter.  Don't try to ladle the batter as I have found that this destroys the gas bubbles for the later crumpets.
Cook for 10 minutes with the rings in place.  Remove the rings and cover the fry-pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Lift onto a wire rack to cool.

Flavour adventures:

so far we have created loaves with incredible flavours using about 1 1/2 cups of flavour elements such as .....

Olive, feta & thyme bread

Olive & pepita bread

Olive, feta and rosemary wholemeal
sourdough bread
Olive, feta, thyme and sundried tomato bread
great for brushetta!
Olive, feta and fresh roasemary bread

Using home made feta!Home made olive tapenade bread
dark and mysterious!

Oat bread

Wholemeal spelt sourdough
banana bread
Maccadamia & pumpkin seed (pepita) rolls
We had one roll that went a bit stale and I grated it and made stuffing for a roast chikken - worked wonderfully!

Cheese (mozzarella and tasty) and bacon bread

fruit loaf using dried apple, currents, craisins, shredded coconut, crystalised ginger, walnuts, chia dash of port & angostura bitters and topped with an egg wash and rolled oats

Banana bread

Olive, greek oregano & caper bread topped with egg wash and pumpkin seeds

Why not try your favourite flavours?

and make a gourmet sandwich


Peanut Butter Bread

Peanut Butter Bread


  • 375 g peanut butter, all natural sugar free *
  • 3 x eggs, whole large
  • 1 Tbls vinegar, apple cider or to taste
  • 1 Tbls baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 handful seeds of your choice


Using a hand mixer blend the nut butter and eggs to a creamy consistency.
Add the vinegar and salt and mix for a further minute and well combined.
Line a greased loaf tin suitable for a small loaf and preheat the oven to 170 degC
Add the soda and beat very briefly until combined and pour the mixture into the loaf tin,level neatly, top with seeds and put into the preheated oven.
Bake for 30-40 minutes
Allow to cool in the tin then turn out and cool.
A treat warm with butter, nut butter or toasted.
* Any nut or seed butter can be substituted for peanut butter. I have had success with tahini bread and macadamia bread.
** Low carb and can be enjoyed in moderation in ketogenic diets

Toasted Banana Bread

Banana Bread


  • 2 cups whole meal spelt flour
  • 1 cup all purpose plain flour
  • 2 duck egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 Tbls baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 over ripe bananas, mashed


Using a hand mixer blend the sugar and butter to a creamy consistency.
Add the eggs and banana and mix for a further minute until well combined.
Mix the dry ingredients and make a well to pour the wet ingredients into and bring the dough together
Preheat the oven to 170 degC, Line a greased loaf tin suitable for a small loaf and pour the mixture into the loaf tin,level neatly and bake for 50 minutes. Test that the bread is done by inserting a skewer and if it comes out clean it is done.
Allow to cool in the tin then turn out and cool.
A treat warm with butter or toasted.


  1. Wow ... love what you put together here ... looks amazing. I'll look forward to making these recipes.