Spend a little bit on good ingredients!
Quality ingredients are all-important and the key to good flavour and good texture.
I'm lucky, I live in Wales where the water is soft. Until a few years ago, our water came from a spring up in the top field. After a number of summers when the tanks ran dry at the start of the school holidays, I gave up and had mains water 'moled' in from the supply in the middle of the lane. It's not as cold, clear and fresh but there's fewer bits of amphibion detritus from passing newts and frogs....
Currently, I buy my 'Empress' flour from Nestrop's of Albion Mills in Stockport. They sell via Amazon. It works out cheaper to buy 16 kg at a time. There's usually a twelve month window before the 'best before' kicks in, so that's plenty of time to use it up.
I buy unsalted butter from Aldi. It's from Wales and it's very good.
I'm using DCL Instant yeast at the moment. Also known as SAF Red Label, it's a French yeast that I bought from www.bakerybits.co.uk during Lockdown. Prior to that, I'd been using Doves Farm yeast very successfully.
Always the same - Billington's Dark Muscovado sugar - available from Tesco. Lovely colour and taste.
Don't buy Marvel or even 'own brand' dried milk - it's terribly expensive. Amazon sell 'Country Range' dried skimmed milk powder by the kilo at a fraction of the price. It's preferable to real milk as there's never a risk of it 'turning' and it contains Vitamin C by law and that helps to activate the yeast.
Always pure and natural sea salt - never iodised.
I always add seeds to my bread. I play around with combinatiuons but, at present, I'm adding the following to a 500 gm flour mix:
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1 tablespoonful of linseed
1 tablespoonful of white sesame seeds
1 tablespoonful of black sesame seeds
2 tablespoonful of pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoonful of sunflower seeds
I usually pick up a bag of mixed fruit from Aldi - it's great for fruit breads and Hot Cross Buns. Fruit bread also tends to contain:
Ground Mixed Spice
Earl Grey tea.
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