A week ago I decided to have a go at baking this bread anyway, using my heavy-bottomed stainless steel pot. It has stainless steel handles and a stainless steel lid, so I knew it could take the heat of the oven. I just wasn’t sure how the bread would be. Luckily, it worked. Now all five of us are hooked on this bread and my neighbour is asking for the recipe too. We have made plain wheat bread, we have made a rye-wheat version and we have added walnuts to one loaf. All of them turned out perfectly – crusty, airy and flavoursome.
My verson of the recipe goes like this:
500g strong flour (wheat (type 1050) or 175g rye (type (1150) and 325g type 1050
15g fresh yeast
11g sea salt
340ml lukewarm water
Optional: seeds, walnuts, herbs
Add the flour, salt and yeast (cumbled, if using freah yeast) to a large bowl and stir. If you are adding nuts, seeds, etc., add them at this point. Pour in the lukewarm water and swiftly mix the ingredients to a dough, as if you were making a scone dough. Cover the bowl well with clingfilm and leave to prove for anywhere between 12 and 25 hours. I have generally left it for 16 to 18 hours.
|The dough when mixed|
|The dough after 16 hours|
When you are ready to proceed with making the bread, set the oven to 230°C (without the fan on) and place the empty pot and lid into the oven to heat up. The pot acts as an oven within the oven, with the steam from the dough being trapped by the lid. That is what gives gives the loaf a good crust.
Remove the dough from the bowl. Don’t worry if it is quite wet. Place it on a floured surface (I use a chopping board) and form it into a round loaf. Cover it with clingfilm and leave it for half an hour.
|Our Walnut Loaf|
After half an hour has passed, remove the pot from the oven. Be very careful. It will be extremely hot. Remove the lid from the pot using oven gloves. Lift the dough and plop it into the pot. Put the lid back on and put the whole lot back into the oven, still at 230°C. After half an hour baking, remove the lid. Bake for a further 30 minutes then remove the pot from the oven. You should be able to just turn the bread out of the pot. It doesn’t stick. Leave to cool on a wire tray.