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Holly Davis
Holly Herself

 

 

 

 

This is a bit rushed, I am off to celebrate my 66th birthday,
I have been thinking about my youth and about brown bread. I recall aged 7 or so, a walk to the local Hovis bakery, on the corner of Totteridge lane, in Whetstone UK. I clutched a shilling, expectant of the intoxicating warmth and smells. I returned home clutching two tall loaves of brown bread and change!
I remember being told, “this bread is better for you”. I didn’t need convincing, it was delicious and I loved that the tins the loaves were baked in, embossed them with the bakeries name.
Many years on, master sourdough craftsman John Downes (Natural Tucker Bread Book) taught me to bake my own, delicious, nutritious and digestible 100% wholewheat sourdough breads.  For years after that, I only baked those, until I was seduced, by the holey light and lovely white sourdoughs we all now know and seek out. Research has confirmed a million times, the benefits of eating whole grains and latest gut health research assures us that diversity is key to our overall wellbeing. A bread then, which offers a diverse range of fibre rich ingredients is worthy of pursuit.

Last weekend, I attended events for the launch of Cherie Hausler’s book A Plant Based Farmhouse, she has a sourdough chapter and a recipe for an alternative flour mix to add at a 10% ratio. We discussed this and the work English baker Dr Vanessa Kimbell (the sourdough school) is doing in this area. I have read plenty but as a good cookbook will, I was inspired by Cherie’s and took action. I didn’t have all the ingredients Cherie suggested but I had, what I considered good alternatives. Here is the mix I made, why I chose these and below you can see the process and the resulting bread.
Here are the ingredients in my ‘flour’ mix
I ground these as finely as I could and added 10% of this mix to the total flours. I used 100% stoneground flours

My bread mix included these ingredients and i slow proved it, overnight in the fridge.
Woodstock spitfire wholewheat 40%
Wholegrain milling whole wheat 40%
The flour I ground 10% (dont be tempted to go higher)
Water 80% hydration – Autolysed without leaven overnight
Leaven 15%
Sea salt 2%

The flour mix I made included…
Millet  for its flavour and golden colour100g –
Rolled oats for fibre and mild taste  100g
Red lentils  a total experiment 50g
Beluga lentils, same  50g
Hjiki seaweed for flavour and nutrients / minerals 10g
Sunflower seeds  fibre and flavour 50g
Sesame seeds fibre and flavour 50g

Wholewheat will always produce a closer crumbed loaf but what this loaf lacks in volume, is definitely made up in flavour.
The inclusions created a very interesting bread but they were less obvious than I thought they might be. The complexity and great tangy flavour, due to the long slow prove, made this a very worthwhile trial, with more to come.

If your are not yet making your own, I encourage you to learn. Learn with me at a hands on class in Palm Beach, Saturday April 20 1-5pm and an online course for those further afield. See all my classes here