I’ve spent the past week contemplating my options on what I could do this year. I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with university and would really like to leave, but I have resolved to stay and get it over and done with. Only got a year and a half left now after all. I would also love to get back to cooking. There were so many distractions last year that I felt quite unmotivated to get into the kitchen and create something new. It’s a shame because cooking is something I really enjoy but having to squeeze it in between work and uni makes it into a chore that I could do without.
Last year I made a sort of bucket list of recipes that I really wanted to try. At the time I was thinking that ideally I would like to cross everything off within the next few years. However, looking over it recently I decided that I would use it as a tool to motivate me back into the kitchen and in turn back into the blogosphere. There are over 50 recipes on the list, from simple things such as mayonnaise and jam to the more complex beef wellington and soufflé. I want to make one recipe a week and cross off everything on the list by the end of this year. Hopefully, it will not only give me motivation but also make me a better cook.
Today is the end of the first week of 2013 and so between studying the actions of noradrenaline on ADHD, I popped into the kitchen and picked the first recipe to cross off my list: Spelt Bread.
Spelt flour is a variety of wheat that has been used since medieval times. I sort of made up the recipe based on a number of sources to work out the common ingredients and their quantities, honey and milk seemed to make a richer more luxurious loaf so I definitely wanted those. I was worried about the bread being too dense so I used a combination of strong white and spelt flour to lighten things up. I saw a lot of TV chefs using spelt describe the flavour as more intense and nutty than regular white bread. It turned out exactly as delicious as it sounds.
This recipe uses quite a bit of liquid which makes the dough sticky and reasonably difficult to handle. It is worth it though as it will allow for a more open texture.
- 250g Strong White Bread Flour
- 250g Spelt Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Easy Bake Yeast
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 4/5 tbsp Mixed Seeds (such as Sesame, Pumpkin, Linseed, Poppy Seed)
- 200ml Warm Water
- 175ml Warm Milk
- 3-4 tsp Honey
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
Mix the flours, seeds and yeast together then mix in the salt.
Next, mix together the oil, milk and water and dissolve the honey in the mix.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in half of the liquid. Mix until craggy but fairly dry looking and then gradually mix in the remaining liquid while stirring. (You may not need all the liquid. The mixture should be sticky but not sloppy, and definitely not dry else the crumb will be very tight.)
Mix with the kneading attachment on a machine for about 5 minutes (or with oiled hands for about 10 minutes), until the dough is elastic and slightly springy. Mine wasn’t as springy at this stage as white dough usually is but this is the first time I’ve ever made this bread so not sure if that’s how it’s meant to be. Turned out fine though!
Turn the dough out onto a sheet of oiled baking paper, shape into a rough ball and cover with oiled clingfilm. Leave in a warm kitchen for about an hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220C and put in a large pot with a lid to cook the bread in.
When you are ready to cook the bread you should be able to just lift the sides of the baking paper and gently drop it into the hot cooking pot. Then cook with the lid on for 20 minutes, removing the lid for the last 5-10 minutes of cooking.
The bread will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Enjoy this wonderful bread with a hearty bowl of soup, perfect to warm you up on a cold winter day. Got any food on your to-do this year? Let me know in the comments!