A few month’s ago I was doing my usual weekly food shop and I decided to really look at all the labels of the foods to see if I could spot many differences between brands and budgets. To be honest most of it meant nothing to me, it was just a list of words I can’t pronounce, however on the bread I was shocked to see so many E numbers and ingredients like Palm Oil (I know that palm oil is destroying our rain forests so I knew I didn’t want to be encouraging that). I finally found a loaf (sainsburys own brand no less) which had an ingredients list similar to the the recipe I know for bread and so I have been buying that one, but ideally I’d love to make my own bread!
When researching recipes for bread I came across ‘The Real Bread Campaign‘ which is a campaign to bring real home made chemical free bread back into our communities. This quote from their website sums up a lot of what the Real Bread Movement is about “if you add anything but salt to butter, you have to call it something else; if you add anything at all to milk, it’s no longer milk. So why does similar legal protection not apply to that other staple food: bread?”. It’s so true, I have been very complacent over the years when buying bread and have just accepted that when I am buying a wrapped loaf I am buying normal bread, but now that will change! I should just point out that 7th – 13th May is ‘Real Bread Maker Week’ so make sure you go and check out the website (Here) and see what they have going on.
So for this month’s Friday Challenge I am focusing on bread rolls. I’ve chosen rolls instead of loaves because I felt there was more scope for visual variety with them. I had to start with a simple crusty white bread roll to really get to grips with the basics! This recipe is from the “Leon: Baking and Puddings” a fantastic book which also outlines how “Sadly, over the last Century many of the supposed advances in bread making have in fact stripped the goodness from this elemental food”. This is a great book and you can buy it here.
The recipe uses fresh yeast however I had dried yeast but this was substituted fine, also the recipe calls for warm milk but I used soya milk and again they came out fine! I’ve always wondered if soya milk can replace cows milk in any recipe or whether there is something in cows milk which reacts differently to create the correct texture or flavour but so far I think it’s safe to say that a dairy free milk works in most recipes.
The key to creating a crusty roll with a perfectly fluffy and soft inside is by throwing a handful of ice cubes into a preheated tray at the bottom of the oven when you put the rolls in. This creates steam which makes the crust…crusty!
What I have learnt about bread:
I had to fight the urge to add more flour to what was quite a wet dough, however they do say in the book “wetter is better” so I resisted and I’m glad I did as they turned out perfect. I’ve learnt that you need a certain degree of patience with bread making – knead the dough, wait an hour, knead the dough, wait an hour. It’s definitely a task for a quiet saturday afternoon!
Next week I will be adding a bit of flavour to the bread rolls with an early Jamie Oliver recipe!
Serving Suggestion: Warm the bread roll in the oven and then dip into a big bowl of healthy soup – such as my Pea, Leek and Fennel Soup! (Recipe here)