Saturday, 5 November 2011

Klaus's bread

Mr Eve was taught how to make this delicious, soft on the inside, crusty on the outside farmhouse loaf by his German chef stepfather Klaus, and he bakes it for us whenever he can. The taste and texture is in a different league to that of even bakery bought bread. All he's done is add a couple of tweaks to Klaus fantastic recipe. He's keen to stress that he's an inexperienced baker, but the recipe is so simple that he's baffled why people would use clunky bread making machines when the act of making the loaf is such a pleasure. For me the act of eating the loaf is even more of a pleasure! One more note from Mr Eve, if you want to bake bread then please refrain from adding any sugar to the dough: "Sugary bread is for numpties".

Adapted from one inherited from Klaus Boemke
Serves 8-10

650g bread flour: a third to a half of which should be strong white bread flour; the rest can be a combination of brown bread flour, wholemeal, granary, rye or spelt flour;
7-10g fast acting yeast;
a pinch of salt;
a couple of knobs of butter;
400ml tepid water

1. In a large bowl mix the bread flours together with the yeast.

2. Add a pinch of salt and several knobs of butter to the bowl, mixing it into the flour and yeast with a wooden spoon.

3. Add the water, making sure that it is tepid - neither hot nor cold.

4. With an electric whisk, mix the dough together for a couple of minutes until it's well combined and a solid enough consistency to be lifted out of the bowl in a ball. You might need to add a little more water if the dough feels too dry, or a little more flour if it feels too wet.

5. Now for the fun part; lift the dough ball out and knead, stretch, press and beat it with your hands for a few minutes to bring air into the loaf. Mr Eve likes to pretend it's George Osborne's face and give it a few good punches. Very therapeutic.

6. Put the kneaded dough back into the bowl, cover the bowl with a tea towel, and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes to rise.

7. Shortly before the dough has finished rising, turn the oven on to 190C (170C fan ovens).

8. Grease a little butter onto the base of a baking tray, to stop the bread sticking as it bakes.

9. Take the risen dough out of the bowl, beat and knead the air out again, and shape it into a loaf, before placing it onto the baking tray.

10. Bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. To work out whether it's done at this point, turn the loaf upside down and pat the bottom a couple of times with the base of bread knife. You should hear a hollow sound.

10. Once baked, put the loaf on a wire rack or plate to cool. We like to cut and eat the bread while still hot, which makes the texture more soft and crumbly to slice; it will firm up as it cools. For lunch today we ate slices of this loaf topped with westcountry cheddar and large dollops of our friend Anne's delectable home made apple, date and walnut chutney. Yum!

This bread was idly baked by Mr Eve while we listened to Florence & The Machine's album Ceremonials

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