Friday, November 7, 2008

A Yeast Feast

Apologies for my title, I know it is hackneyed and old fashioned (I listened to the best show on BBC iPlayer's rerun of Radio 4 'Beanz Meanz Rhymez' comparing and contrasting copywriting and poetry writing - fascinating. Was most upset to discover that my two favourite things, silly rhymes and terrible alliteration, are officially passe. Well, of course I knew it already, but it was still devastating to hear it confirmed.)

Apologies also for my lengthy absence. Things have been busy on the job/interview front, that was until the economic situation really started to strike in earnest. So I'm having to take a more creative approach to life. But it's alright, for my writing at least - it is looking like for a while I may be returning to the Good Life, as well as possibly, possibly setting up my own business. The this time back in the country, and minimised incomings, is providing the perfect setting for me to explore a food theme that I find quite fascinating, and which, after all, may be relevant for a LOT of people out there, who are having to start to tighten the purse strings, but still need to feed themselves (and others) with less dosh. More nosh for less dosh so to speak. Oh gosh, sorry, I think the habit may be somewhat difficult to break!

So to start off what is going to be an ongoing theme, something cheap, cheerful and STRESS-RELIEVING.

Eh? Stress-relieving? Wot??

Ahhhhh, yes. Stress relieving. Take a lovely, long deep breath and say together with me:

'frreeeeeessssh breeeeadd' 'freeeeesshhhhh hoooomeemaaaade breeeeeaddddd'.

Yip. That's right. Make yourself up a generous dollop of yeasty bread dough (sadly not dough of the £££ variety, soz), and not only will you have plenty of bread for the following few days' sarnies, and toast for all those buttered soldiers you eat with your boiled egg, but you will also have a free punchbag. Any money stresses instantly relieved, 100% guarantee or your money back.*

So here it is, a simple, foolproof wholemeal bread recipe.

1lb Wholemeal Flour
1/2 lb Strong White Flour
1 pkt dried yeast (you can of course use fresh yeast but I'm going to be doing this at a later date)
olive oil and warm water to about 3/4-1 pint

Mix flour, yeast and salt and add about 1 pint of liquid, depending on the flour. Best to make a sloppy dough and then add more water in order to knead it. Knead roughly until smooth - about 2 minutes.
Pop in a large mixing bowl and cover with cling film, leaving to rise for about an hour (somewhere warm and without a draft).
Pound down until you've removed the air, and knead for about 10 minutes, until there are small bubbles under the surface of the dough. If you've not kneaded before, push the dough away from you with the heel of one hand, stretching the dough out and pulling back with a knuckle to reform, then repeat).
Using one large and one small bread tin, line both with greased greaseproof paper. Split the dough between the two accordingly, roughly forming the dough into loaf shapes. Leave to rise again for another half hour to an hour.
Bake for 1/2-3/4 hour at 350F. until golden. Test with a skewer, and when the loaf is removed from the oven and tin, it should sound hollow when you knock the bottom.

Delicious thickly sliced plain or toasted for the ideal golden, crumbly, slightly chewy, buttered vehicle for Marmite, or your favourite marmelade!

*please do not hold me to this, I advise you also take up some yoga, or maybe start babysitting for a bit of extra cash

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