Saturday, 5 March 2016

A very expensive looking frugal loaf

After a wonderful morning at a Thermomix bread demo thingy where really lovely, expensive flours were used, I came home with a strong urge to see if I could go all frugal and make a loaf that looked much more expensive than it really was and which also tasted good.

I fell back on my normal bread recipe that I have written about in this blog and did what I did when it was Live Below The Line time - use ordinary value plain flour.

I know - Paul Hollywood would turn in his grave . . . if he was dead, that is!

I made a few changes, one in technique and one in the equipment I used.

Taking the second first, I proved the dough in one of my new and already much loved bannetons.

The technique change was that I did a sort of autolysis.  I mixed the flour with 75mls of the water and let it rest for an hour or so before adding the remaining ingredients.

200g plain white flour (I used value flour which came to 6p)
around 125 mls/gms water (63% of flour)
half tsp each of instant yeast, salt and sugar
a splash of veg oil

extra flour for kneading and to sprinkle over the uncooked loaf.

Mix the flour with 75mls of water.  Cover and leave

Some time later (I left it for an hour), add the remaining ingredients with most of the remaining water, mix well and then knead until a soft, slightly sticky dough has formed.  You will need to sprinkle flour on the working surface at first to prevent sticking.

Oil or butter the inside of a bowl or other container.  Pop in the dough, cover and leave until double in size (which does not mean double in height!).

Sprinkle more flour on the working surface, tip out the dough, gently knock it back, which just means gently press it all over with fingers or knuckles.
Stretch and fold, stretch and fold until the dough is the shape you desire.
Then either pop it into a prepared loaf tin (a one pounder) or into a floured banneton.  Cover again and leave to prove.

If you're using a tin, once it has come up over the top of the tin, pop it into an oven heated to 230C, close the door and immediately turn it down to 200 (fan 180) and bake for about half an hour

What I did was pop the dough into the floured banneton, covered it with cling film until it had risen again, then turned it out onto parchment on a baking sheet.  I then brushed the surface with water, sprinkled it with flour and slashed it longways three times.  Then I baked it as above.

Can't wait to slice it tomorrow and taste it.  I will try and remember to take another photo.  The texture won't be quite the same although the autolysis should have helped, and the taste will be 'different' but I remember that it tasted great during Live Below The Line.  That might have been a contrast thing though.

We will see.


  1. I know, I could google, but talking to someone is more fun, so . . . autolysis?

  2. Yup. :-) Basically it is mixing some of the water with the flour for a time. It is supposed to develop the gluten and the flavour. I think it does, from my own experience.
    J x

  3. I will try that then :-) And also consult my bread bible as I am sure Andrew W will have mentioned it and I have missed it! Cheers.

  4. What a lovely looking loaf
    Going to try it tmrw
    And the brushing with water trick!

  5. I picked that up today at the Thermomix thing. I usually have a tray of water at the bottom of the oven but brushing over with water (very gently) is supposed to create a nice crispy crust. It worked for this particular loaf anyway.
    Don't add all the water at first - go with the feel of the dough.
    J x

  6. Arnton - don't add any salt to the flour if you autolyse. It can be added later. Some advise you to dissolve the salt in the remaining water. Personally I don't.
    J x

  7. Looks really great! I bet it's got a wonderful crust.

  8. It does and I'm very pleased about that. My crusts are often soft. Thanks, Rachel.
    J x

  9. Looks terrific Joy you seem to be gaining in skill all the time

  10. Thanks, Diane. I'm certainly learning a lot and enjoying myself as I do so. :-)
    J x

  11. Thanks for this Joy, we tend to use strong white in a breadmaker, but I will definitely be giving this a go!!

  12. Hi, Mina.
    I wouldn't try this recipe in a bread maker. It dictates to the dough instead of letting the dough take the lead.
    Good luck with the recipe. I have found today that it is even better and very little more expensive to use 10% strong flour so 180g plain flour and 20g strong white flour.
    J x