23 July 2009

Bread baking and yogurt making

Picture this – you open the bread tin and, shock horror, there is nothing there. So you jump in your car and rush to the supermarket. No parking so you drive around the parking lot looking for a spot. Eventually you find one and go in to get the bread – which was baked at a bakery a long way away and transported by truck to the supermarket. Think of all the carbon emissions from your car and the delivery truck, not to mention how expensive bread is these days. But that’s not all – the normal bread we eat has gluten which only gets to break down in our stomachs, giving one that bloated feeling. Most of us are somewhat used to it so we don’t even notice it unless we pay attention.

But there is an easier, cheaper, healthier and more fun option – bake your own bread. Follow these easy steps.

1. Grind some wheat grains and add a little water and flour to it. Leave it for 3 days, adding a tablespoon of flour & water daily, and you have what we call the starter. It should be enough to fill a cup and then you’re ready.

2. The bread making process takes about 10 mins of effort over a 24 hour period – that means some planning initially, but work it into your routine and you’re set. Add a cup of water and a cup of flour to your starter and leave it for 12 hours.

3. You now have what we call the sour dough. Take two cups out of it and mix up with two cups of flour and some salt to taste. This will give you enough dough to bake a loaf of bread for two people. Keep the remaining sour dough in the fridge and use as a starter for the next loaf of bread.

4. Knead the dough for a few minutes and you’ll have a nice smooth loaf, pat with oil and leave to rise for 12 hours. Coat with yogurt (see below) and sprinkle some sesame seeds, then pop in the oven and bake for about 45 mins. Voila, you have a delicious loaf of home baked bread.

Yogurt is muuuuch easier – not that bread was hard at all! Buy a little tub of yogurt that has live AB cultures. Talk a cup of milk and warm for 2mins in the microwave. The milk should be room temperature – add two tablespoons of the bought yogurt and leave in a flask for 24 hours. Voila, delicious homemade yogurt. Salt or sweeten as you like, depending on how you eating it.