I don't claim to be an expert cook. Or a fancy cook. In fact, I never used to really enjoy cooking. So this is mostly about low fuss, filling and tasty meals, and really just anything I have a go at and decide to share along the way!! My top priority is avoiding additives and preservatives wherever possible closely followed by using whole/less processed/healthier ingredients. But for those who would like conventional options that are quick tasty and cost effective, I would like to share tips on all of these as well!!

Monday, 5 March 2012


Firstly, you are not to be afraid of making bread!!  It really is soooo easy and saves a lot of money and trips to the shops for bread when you have run out!!!

For those that would like a preservative free option for a white loaf, then here it is!  I use the Basic Bread recipe in the Everyday Cookbook, but it you don't want it to be a wholegrain loaf by grinding grains to start, then simply substitute that 100g of wholegrains for 100g of Bakers Flour.  So you use 500-520g of Bakers Flour for each loaf.

Bakers Flour is not just plain flour.  It is a strong plain flour, so you won't get the same results with plain flour!  For those around the Newcastle area, Bibina sells 12.5kg bags so it is extremely cost effective, when you use it for your pizza bases, cinnamon scrolls, croissants, pull aparts, all of the different doughs you can make.  For others, it is cheaper to buy it in the 5kg bags at Coles etc.  It costs me approx 70 cents per loaf / 12 dinner rolls/ 2 large pizza bases/ etc for the flour.  Then you just add the cost of yeast and 20g olive oil and some salt!!

After speaking to a Baker, I got a lot of tips, although because I don't use a bread improver, the results are never going to be quite as good without a little bit of sugar, and bread improver - mainly for loaves.  But that's fine with me as I don't want to include those extra ingredients and I think the results are good enough.  Rolls and pullaparts you don't need to worry about that anyway as they are much more forgiving!!

Back to the basic bread.  If you want a really no fuss option, here is what to do.  If you haven't boiled the jug previously for your lukewarm water, then just weigh in you 300g of cold water or tap water, then set to heat on 37 degrees for 2 minutes Speed 2.  Then you have your warm water!  Then add your yeast and other ingredients, mix for 5 seconds on speed 6, then knead for 2 minutes.  If you want to, you can bump that time to 5 minutes and you will get a little fluffier result in the end.  

Once finished kneading, if you don't need your bowl for anything else, you can then just let rise for at least 20 minutes in the bowl, up to 30 minutes.  If you need your bowl, you can take out the dough, knead about 4 times by hand and wrap up in Thermomat, or place in oiled bowl and cover and leave for at least 20 - 30 minutes.  If you are doing rolls, they are a lot more forgiving with rising times etc than bread is.

After proving, if it is in the Thermomix bowl, knead for 30 seconds.  If it is in a bowl or Thermomat, then punch out the air, knead about 5 times by hand again.


If doing loaf:  Tip your dough straight into your loaf tin, then let rise in tin for another 30 minutes, or longer if desire, until the dough rises to the top of the tin.  Then put into the oven, set oven to 180C, letting the bread continue to rise while the oven heats up.  Then bake the bread at reached temp for time stated.  I set my oven for 45 minutes which allows it to heat up and cook, but my oven is definitely not average, so you may need to experiment with your own to know how long to cook for.  Some people let it rise fairly high then bake at a hot preheated oven up to 200C- spray with water if you want a nice browned soft crust on top.

If doing rolls:  Stretch out and break into desired amount of rolls and roll into balls - you can do about 12 small rolls or 7 large rolls.

Arrange on baking tray fairly close so they will rise and touch together.  If you have time, then let rise again for about 25 minutes covered, or keep spraying with water so the top doesn't dry out.  If you don't have time, then just place in a cold oven, set to 180C and bake for around 25 minutes, until browned on top - they will have a second rise as the oven heats up/You can put it straight into the cold oven without having the second rise, but your crust will break apart more.

These could have been placed a little closer together -
we were experimenting with different kneading times
and water temperatures, but they turned out beautifully!
If you would like a mixed grain loaf, you can just pour your seeds through the top during the last 30 seconds of kneading.

I make 2 loaves at a time, slice one and freeze it ready to use for toast or kids lunches, and use the other fresh.  I also try to mix up a batch of muffins or cake that I bake all at the same time so I am being very energy efficient!!

If you have a bit more time and would like a lighter, bakery style bread that stays fresher for longer, then try the Tang Zhong style bread here: http://www.forumthermomix.com/index.php?topic=6409.0  Read through the responses for different tips, but if you are kneading for 15 minutes, put your thermomix on the floor so you don't have to be worried about it falling off the bench, or watching like a hawk!!

Of course there are lots of other options with breads and grains, using gluten free options, or spelt flours  etc.  Pop over to www.quirkycooking.blogspot.com for all of these alternatives, she has some fantastic recipes and photos!!  Otherwise, I hope this inspires you to experiment a bit more with your breads!!

1 comment:


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