I’ve written about this recipe before (see Malted Grain Loaf: best loaf ever?) but thought it was worth another moment in the spotlight after a recent success adapting it to use Shipton Mill’s new Seeded White Flour.
I made this bread for my Airbnb guests last weekend, who arrived just as the bread was coming out of the oven (my most recent prototypical Country Living moment). I served this bread as part of my Airbnb “complimentary help-yourself breakfast”, along with butter, jam, muesli, milk, fresh fruit, coffee and tea.
I am always fascinated by what my guests choose to eat for breakfast, and for these folks, breakfast seemed to consist of nearly an entire loaf of bread, Keens cheddar and marrow chutney. And they had the same breakfast for the remainder of their three-night stay. I needed to make more bread!
What I love about this recipe is that it works really well for free-form loaves (vs tin loaves). It is also a yeasted bread so I can make a loaf within a few hours, making it a good contender for morning baking and lunchtime eating.
This particular recipe seems well suited for heartier flours (the original uses malted grain flour, and the Shipton Mill’s seeded white flour is full of, well, seeds – sunflower, linseed, millet, poppy and pumpkin seeds). The dough is denser than the no knead bread I’m used to, but I suppose that’s why it works for free form baking.
I’d like to try this recipe with pure white or pure wholemeal flour and see if I have the same success. This will no doubt require adjusting the recipe somewhat to adapt to the different hydration levels that such flours require – such are the lessons in baking. And speaking of bread baking lessons, I think the basic one is this: most bread recipes are basically the same, it’s just a matter of adjusting the flour and water ratio to get a dough that “feels right”. And the only way to learn that is through practice. Time to make more bread…
- 500g multigrain flour (such as malted bread flour or Shipton Mill’s seeded white flour)
- 5g dried yeast
- 10g fine sea salt
- 300ml warm water
- About 1 tbsp melted butter, or rapeseed or olive oil (I used olive oil)
- Rye flour, for coating (optional)
- Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the water and mix to a rough dough (I recommend using your hands). Add the butter or oil and mix well. Adjust the consistency if you need to with a little more flour or water to make a soft, easily kneadable, sticky dough.
- Turn the dough out on to a work surface and knead until smooth and satiny – roughly 10 minutes (or if you have a blender with a dough hook, use that). Cover the bowl with cling film and leave until doubled in size – anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes, possibly even longer depending on the temperature of your kitchen. When it’s ready it should look like this:
- Deflate (‘knock back’) the dough by tipping it on to the work surface and pressing all over with your fingertips. Then shape the dough into a loaf, dusting it with a little rye flour if you have some. Transfer to a well-floured board, linen cloth or proving basket, lay a plastic bag over it and leave to prove, until almost doubled in size again.
- Preheat the oven to 250°C/Gas Mark 9 (or at least 220°C/gas 7, if that’s your top limit), then put a pizza stone or baking tray in to heat up. Have ready, if possible, a clean gardener’s spray bottle full of water – you’ll be using this to create a steamy atmosphere in the oven, which helps the bread to rise and develop a good crust. (You can achieve the same effect with a roasting tin of boiling water placed on the bottom of the oven just before you put the loaf in – but the spray bottle is easier.)
- Transfer the loaf to the hot tray, removed from the oven. Slash the top, if you wish, with a serrated knife. Put the loaf into the hot oven and give a few squirts from the spray bottle over and around it before closing the door as quickly as you can.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200°C/gas 6 and continue baking until well browned and hollow-sounding when tapped – around 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool completely on a rack before slicing.