I am ignoring Mary’s Cat who is sleeping in one of the Silent Ones caps looking incredibly cute. And I am not listening to Mama who is crying because I am trying to wean her lambs AGAIN. I am trying not to think about the fact that I found THE RAM (Hairy MacLairy) in the barn with Mama this morning! Dirty Rotton Scoundrel. (I have noted the date on my Animal calendar just in case something naughty occurred in the night.. Better not have!.) She didn’t seem to care when I chucked him out.Mama sternly peering out, hoping for a glimpse of her ungrateful children.
I am blocking out the sounds of a yellow top dressing (aerial spraying) plane that is buzzing all over the neighbours fields (fungicide) and trying not to worry about this new threat to my bees.
I have cut a truck-full of sweetcorn stalks. Distributed it amongst my stock. Queenie is being so sweet this morning. I have watered the new seedlings in the garden and picked MORE cucumbers. Daisy is beginning to look like a cucumber she eats so many! Now we are going to make Bread.
No Recipe Bread. I know that sounds weird but it does work. I make bread like this about twice a week. When you read about No Recipe Bread you will read words like pinches, dollops, handfuls, shakes.. stuff like that. You’ll work it out.
OK, in your small size pot/saucepan, half fill with milk, scald. (heat to almost boiling). Add a good dollop of honey and a few pinches of salt. Stir. Add cold water almost filling the pot. COOL to hand warm. Add 2 sachets or 2 tablespoons of yeast. Give one cursory stir and leave to work where it is warm.
In your biggest kitchen bowl. Pour in about 4 or 5 cups of organic unbleached white flour. (I just tip in a little over a third of a 5lb/2kg bag of flour) , then about 1 cup of wholemeal flour. Shake in a handful each of Flax seeds and flax flour, and wheat germ. Depending on how wholemealy, (Yes I know that is not a word but I bet you know what I MEAN!) you want your bread. Basically none of these measurements matter as long as you err on the side of less flour. This will make sense in a minute. Mix all your dry ingredients, make a well in the center.
When your yeast has risen and looks nice and bubbly, stir and pour into the well in the flour, it should look like too much fluid. Stir from the well until you have mixed in all the flour, sometimes it looks like a batter. Then using your sieve sprinkle more flour in and stir and repeat and repeat until you have a lovely ball of dough. At some point you will have ditched the spoon and you will be using your hands, and then with the dough still IN the bowl – knead and turn, knead and turn for about 10 minutes or whenever your arms get tired. Keep your hands floury. Your dough is good when it starts pushing back up after each knead. Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl and cover (I usually just tie a clean supermarket bag over it) , then place in a warm spot to RISE and double its size. At least an hour.
Punch down. Divide into portions, place in greased tins, rise again until it looks right and cook on High. I make small loaves and these take 19 minutes. A bigger loaf I leave in for about 25 minutes. Knock on your bread – if it sounds hollow it is cooked. Turn bread out onto rack. Cool.
I have made bread using every recipe know to man and my bread was marginal at the best of times until I threw away the measuring cup and started looking at what I was doing. Getting in tune with the bread! (laughter). Seriously it is much more successful for me to start with a wet mixture that you add flour to, than a dry dough that you are trying to add water to.
You can add either: Rosemary, lavender, nuts, or raisins, olives, seeds or Cheese (roll the cheese in) and onions. Whatever takes your fancy. I usually wait until after I have risen the bread the first time before adding the extras.
Tomorrow we will take one of these small loaves and make a stuffing for a chicken I will be cooking for dinner. No. Not one of my own chickens. I am not eating one of those tough old birds. I have not quite got there yet with my new age old fashioned farming!!