Everything you knead to know about celebrating Real Bread Week

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From bagels and baps, to ciabattas and chapattis, Real Bread Week is a celebration of all-things naturally baked.

Processed baking has become the norm for many large-scale bread suppliers to meet the daily demand, but Real Bread Week’s aim is to get more people involved with home baking trying out their own bread-making skills, and going down to the local bakery to grab a fresh hearty loaf.

The truth behind it all is that baking bread doesn’t have to be that complicated. All you need is water and flour, and you can make flatbreads. Add some yeast and salt into the mix and you’ll be knocking out bread rolls (or cakes, baps, rolls, cobs, butties, barm or muffins, depending on which part of the country you come from) in no time at all.

As part of the charity Sustain, Real Bread Week has helped more than 10,000 children in at least 150 schools learn to make real bread through its fantastic initiatives, and supports and promotes local and independent bakers throughout the event. 

Over the course of Real Bread Week, there are a host of events being held across the breadth of the country, and the campaign’s website has everything you need to know about home baking.

Celebrate this week-long bread-loving event by getting your hands in a big bowl of dough, with these two easy-to-follow recipes.

Overnight White

Sid Price, former owner of Price’s in Ludlow

This recipe has stayed almost the same since Sid Price made it in 1943. Deborah Cook, Sid’s granddaughter says: “We’ve always made real bread! The only change, apart from converting from Imperial to metric measurements, is that we’ve reduced the salt level slightly.”

Fermenting dough slowly overnight with a very small amount of yeast allows time to develop maximum flavour, a great crust and a loaf that will keep longer.

Makes: 1 large loaf

From mixing to oven: overnight plus 2½ hours

Baking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 500g / 1lb 2oz / 3½ cups white bread flour
  • 8g / 1½ tsp fine/table salt
  • 2g / ½ tsp lard
  • 1.5g / ¼ tsp fresh yeast
  • 280g / 10oz / 1¼ cups minus 1 tbsp water
  • Butter or oil, for greasing

 Method

1. Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly, then knead quite firmly until you have a smooth and stretchy dough. As it is so tight (which means the ratio of water to flour is quite low), you might need to stop and leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes before continuing. Cover and leave to rise at room temperature overnight.

2. Grease a large loaf tin, shape the dough to fit and place it in the tin. Cover and leave to prove at room temperature for 2 hours.

3. Heat the oven to 240–250°C/220–230°C fan/475–500°F/gas 8–9, or as high as it will go. Dust the top of the dough with flour, if you like, slash down the middle of the loaf and bake for 45 minutes.

Credit info: Taken from Slow Dough: Real Bread by Chris Young, published by Nourish Books. Hardback, £20. 

Pulla

Chris Young

According to some reports, the Finns drink more coffee per person than any other nationality. Whether or not that’s true I’ve no idea, but my personal experience is that they guzzle kahvia as often as we Brits down tea. In someone’s home, a cup will usually be accompanied by a cake or pastry, and more often than not that will be pulla.

Makes: 12 pulla

From mixing to oven: overnight plus 1½ hours

Baking time: 10–15 minutes

 Ingredients

  • 15 green cardamom pods
  • 5g / 1 tsp fresh yeast
  • 50g / 1¾oz / 3½ tbsp butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 500g / 1lb 2oz / 3¾ cups plain/all-purpose flour
  • 300g / 10½oz / 1¼ cups milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 80g / 2¾oz / scant ½ cup caster/superfine sugar
  • 5g / 1 tsp fine/table salt
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glazing

Method

1. Crush the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle, discard the husks and grind the seeds.

2. Rub the yeast and butter into the flour, then add the milk, egg, sugar, salt and cardamom seeds and mix thoroughly. Cover the dough and leave to rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight.

3. Grease a large baking sheet with butter. Divide the dough into 12 equal-size pieces, shape each piece into a ball and place on the baking sheet, 5cm/2in apart. Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for about 1 hour.

4. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas 6. Brush the top of each pulla with beaten egg and bake for 10–15 minutes until golden-brown.

Credit info: Taken from Slow Dough: Real Bread by Chris Young, published by Nourish Books. Hardback, £20. 

 

For more information on how you can get involved in Real Bread Week, click here to visit the campaign’s website. 

 

Pullaball
Overnightwhite