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Monday 18 February 2013

Wholemeal Bread

No, your eyes do not deceive you. This is not a cake related posting. Please try your best to remain calm.

Several factors have come together at once and convinced me to attempt to bake my own bread. The main two in play are that Percy won't do it anymore and that I was seduced by a packet of flour in a farm shop.

I can rarely resist the lure of a good farm shop, but I always seem lost for what to buy in them (apart from eggs and cheese, obviously). I skip over the cakes, because, well, come on... Why would I of all people buy a cake? I have a reputation to consider.

Then there are the jars of jam and chutney. They look pretty, but I make my own. I stock up on local greens and whatever I think Beyoncé would put in her basket, then ultimately end up by the flours. Then it is time to consider how many varieties Perce will allow me to purchase and how much space there is in the cupboard. This time, there was room for some strong wholemeal. Fate you may say.

For this loaf, I followed the (very) straightforward method and recipe (halved) given in Bread: River Cottage Handbook No. 3and rather than give you a re-hash here, I'll just give you my thoughts on the whole enterprise.

So get ready for them because here they come...

It was a very long winded way to end up with a sandwich. I don't deny that the results were excellent; better than anything I can buy, and I live around the corner from here. (Please don't tell them I said that!!) But, just as when I realised that bought blocks of paneer were actually perfectly acceptable and I didn't need to make my own I pretty much stopped doing so, I feel this bread making may end when I finish the packet of flour. I mean, I embrace home made. Truly I do. Have you seen these? But what next? Am I going to start making my own shoes?


That said, I can see that there's a process involved here that many people will enjoy. It is also cheaper to make your own bread than it is to buy it, although process-led types need no such financial endorsement. Do you think it's cheaper to knit a sweater than it is to buy one? Dream on, dreamer.

If you want to get loafy, you could do a lot worse than starting here. I'll see how the rest of the wholemeal goes before I commit to anything else...

Do you make your own bread?


  1. so glad you made this... it looks damn fine!... nice work my friend x

  2. looks amazing you! I think there;s a certain satisfaction in having amde soemthign from scratch by yourself, and especially so when it's soemthing as basic as bread. and yes it may not be the fastest way to a sandwich but god, that will be one FINE sandwich! good job! x

  3. This bread is GORGEOUS. All of the 15 recipes that I have attempted from this blog have been fabulous. I feel compelled to give you advice now though: do not give up on bread. I make all my own bread, and have for years, with, GASP, a bread machine. Buy a *good* cookbook, like The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook, and within 3.5 hours, you can have beautiful baked bread that is actually kneaded better than hands can do it. It also makes really great pizza dough on Friday nights, while I drink a glass of wine and preheat the oven. Thank you so much for all your wonderful inspiration! I look forward to reading about more of your breadmaking adventures!

    1. Jen, you've made FIFTEEN things from this blog? You need an award!

      I sort of want to know what you liked best. :)

    2. Hmmmmmm......very good question. I loved the chocolate ginger brownies, the cookies and cream lamingtons, the Tunisian chickpeas, the sweet potato/apple/ginger soup, and the Smurf cupcakes. Maybe what I loved best was the Oreo Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes.
      Hard decision.
      But I think that as delicious as the food is, I get just as much pleasure from reading your writing. Whenever I need cheering up, I just read your blog! :-)

    3. You're so sweet, Jen. Thanks!

  4. I do make my own bread, either with a wet no-knead dough a la http://www.amazon.co.uk/Five-Minute-Bread-revolutionary-kneading/dp/0091938945/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1361820685&sr=8-1 or this from Wild Yeast http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2008/11/05/more-sour-sourdough/ (which ends up being essentially the same method, in the end, since it's also very wet). Neither one takes very much effort, although I neglected my sourdough starter for a while so until I get another one going it's pretty much making dough on the fly these days.


That's what he said.

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