“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”
- Winston Churchill'
I am as happy as can be for I am no longer afraid of thou, yeast! After numerous failed attempts at baking with yeast, I decided to try again. Armed with an "easy" recipe for a wholemeal loaf by Delia Smith, kindly handed to me by Marty (who has had to hear me complain about how much I hate yeast for far too long, obviously) I marched into my kitchen, a little defiantly, late last night.
This bread is actually called the Quick and Easy Wholemeal Loaf and it's not misleading at all. I'd love to say I've become a great baker overnight but its really only cos the recipe was so simple and straightforward.
I started with a prayer
Next, I read through the recipe four times and made sure I had my ingredients all measured and ready ala Chef Wan. I wasn't about to take any chances by reaching for ingredients as I go through the recipe. No, I wanted to minimise my chances of failure.
So I got my salt, sugar, instant active dry yeast, tepid water and flour ready. Wooden spoon and mixing bowl too.
The first step is to heat/toast the flour (Organic Wholemeal Flour, 570 gms) in the oven for about 10 mins. Remove and transfer the hot flour into a mixing bowl. Add the salt (2 level tsp), sugar (1 level tsp) and instant active dry yeast (2 level tsp) and mix them together well.
Done, so far so good.
Next, make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add 400 ml tepid water. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms. Now put the spoon away and mix it more intimately with your hands. Mix well until the dough comes off the sides of the bowl and no bits stick to the bowl at all.
Now transfer the dough onto a flat surface and form it into an oblong shape. Fold the right end of the oblong shaped dough to the centre and then the left side too. Invert and transfer into a greased (with plenty of butter) and dusted (with flour) loaf pan. Use a 2lb loaf pan, please. Press the sides of the dough tight to the pan so the middle is a small mound. Cover with a damp tea cloth and leave it in someplace warm for 30 mins to an hour or till dough rises to almost the brim of the pan.
For 60 mins I was a nervous wreck. Would my dough rise? I didn't dar lift the tea cloth in case it sabotaged the process. I was pacing and my dog Mojo was looking at me strangely.
After 60 long minutes I hesitantly lifted the cloth (so much drama, right?) and guess what? IT DID RISE!!!!!! Happiness for me yesterday was seeing a bloated piece of sticky dough at 30 mins to midnight. Now that sounds like some great lyrics for a tune...
Back to the bread. I didn't dare dilly dally and take photos and swiftly transfered the RISEN dough into a preheated (I had preheated it 15 mins before -- at 200C) oven and let it bake for 40 mins.
I was a little less nervous now and paced only a little. I checked on the baking loaf now and then, satisfied with what I saw and removed it after 40 mins.
Now when you remove it, you have to tip it onto a clean cloth and then return in upside down into the overn for 5 to 10 mins to the bottom and sides have a nice crust.
I did just that and removed it, took some photos (grinning all the way) and let it cool. Don't store it or freeze it until its COMPLETELY cool.
You can sit and stare at it and admire it if you want. I did that for 10 mins. And then I went back to my TV, relieved.
You don't know what a wholemeal loaf is until you've tasted a home made one. This was rich and chewy, but I must say, the crust was a tad too hard for me. It tasted better this morning when I toasted it with a tick slab of mozerella melting down the sides but I think next time, I'd try not baking it for the extra 5 mins at the end.