One of the main reasons for starting this blog was to have something that I enjoy, which I can work on and develop and feel proud of. I graduated last year from university and have been looking for a job since January – after a while, when you’re still jobless, it can get a teensie bit depressing! So Coriander and Cumin was created to be my space where I can share my love of cooking, recipes and develop my skills in the kitchen. This blog will focus on recipes, some my own and some that I’ve discovered else where. But I also want to set myself little challenges to excite me, improve my skills and my knowledge on different areas of cooking.
I’ve recently become really interested in baking bread! I just find it fun and fascinating, combining the ingredients, kneading, watching the dough grow (how exciting?!). I was recently given Paul Hollywood’s book for my birthday on baking bread. I was so excited and book marked lots of recipes, but I still haven’t gotten round to actually baking anything! So, I’m using this as an opportunity to learn the art of baking bread. With The Need to Knead series, I’m going to try to bake a bread recipe once and week and share the highs and lows with you! I’ll be starting off with the more simple recipes and aiming higher as I learn the ways of the dough!
So this is my first week, and I chose to cook the most simple bread recipe out there, the bloomer. I already baked one of these years ago, but this time I decided to do a wholewheat bloomer just to have a bit more taste and substance than a simple white one. I’m at my mum’s house in France at the moment and in the supermarket I found a wholewheat bread flour with seeds already in it, which I thought would make a nice addition. You can obviously just add seeds to your mix if it’s not already included.
This recipe is from Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ recipe book – I just substituted the strong white bread flour for wholewheat bread flour with seeds.
Makes 1 loaf
What you need:
– 500g wholewheat flour (you can add seeds, such as sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, whatever takes your fancy)
– 10g salt
– 7g sachet of dried yeast
– 40ml of olive oil, plus extra for surfaces
– 320ml of cool water
How to do it:
1. Put the flour in a large bowl, on one side add the salt and on the other side add the yeast. It’s important the salt and yeast don’t touch as it can ‘kill’ the yeast.
2. Pour in the olive oil and 240ml of the cool water. Now it’s time to get your hands dirty and mix it all together!
3. Once the mixture starts to come together, add more water bit by bit, you might not need it all. Just enough for you to get a soft, sticky dough – make sure you don’t add too much water though you don’t want the dough to be soggy!
4. Pour some olive oil on a clean work surface – Paul Hollywood says that he prefers to use oil instead of flour to stop the dough sticking as it keeps the dough soft and doesn’t skew the balance between flour and water.
5. Knead the dough for roughly 10-15 minutes. A wholewheat dough needs slightly longer kneading than white flour, and if you’re a beginner (which I am!) you should knead longer – I did it for about 20min! It’s a good arm work out, trust me! You’ve kneaded it enough when the dough becomes soft and stretchy.
6. Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave it for about 2 – 2+1/2 hours, until it’s tripled in size (wholewheat flour can take longer to rise than white).
Look at it grow!!
7. Once it’s risen, place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and now it’s time to ‘knock back’ the dough. This is basically when you push out the air from the dough to tighten it – this gives your loaf an even texture. To do this, fold the dough over its self several times, and then push out the air with your knuckles and the heel of your hands. Do this for about 5 minutes until your dough is smooth. You’ll really notice how it’s much more elastic and easier to handle than the first time round.
8. Now you need to shape it into a bloomer shape. Flatten your dough into a rectangle and then fold the both longest sides into the middle. Flip the loaf over, and tuck the ends in underneath to make an oval shape (more or less!) Gently roll the loaf from side to side and mould it slightly to create the bloomer shape.
9. You have to now leave the loaf to rise again, this is called proving. This lets the dough develop more flavour and a lighter texture. Place your loaf on some baking paper and then on the baking tray that you’re going to use. Paul says to then put it in a large, clean plastic bag. I didn’t really have one I could use, so I just covered it with clingfilm – did the trick. Leave it to prove until its doubled in size – this will take roughly an hour or so. You know when it’s ready if you poke it gently with your finger and it springs back into shape.
10. Don’t forget to put your oven onto 220 degrees (fan oven) whilst your dough is proving and put in a roasting tin at the bottom (will explain why below!).
11. When your dough is ready, sprinkle the top with a little bit of water and dust with some flour. Always being very gentle – you don’t want to knock out the air you’ve spent so long waiting for! With a sharp knife, slice 4 slashes across the top of the loaf – this will make the loaf ‘bloom’!
12. Before putting the loaf in the oven, pour 1 litre of water into the roasting tray. Why? This creates steam, which will give your loaf a nice crispy crust and make it nice and shiny!
13. Put your baking tray with the loaf on in the oven on the middle shelf and it needs to bake for about 25 minutes. After that, turn the oven down to 200 degrees and bake for 10-15min (so 35-40 mins in total cooking time).
14. You want you loaf to have a good, deep color to it before you take it out. To double check it’s cooked, get a tea towel, take out your loaf and give the bottom a good tap, if it sounds hollow then it’s ready! If not, put in back for a bit longer.
15. Leave the loaf to cool completely on a wire rack. And then… enjoy! …. (although I couldn’t wait for it to cool down, and sliced a bit off straight away!)
Verdict: I have to say I’m really happy with my loaf! I find it so fascinating how you just need a few basic ingredients and you can create something really incredible and tasty! I just love watching the dough grow and develop. I can’t wait for my next bread backing adventure next week! My loaf was ready at around 4.30 in the afternoon, which coincided nicely with tea-time! I had my first bit with some bread and honey which was delicious! Nothing more satisfying than eating a loaf of bread which you have spent the day lovingly-slaving over! How would you eat your loaf?