I blogged back in October last year about how I’d started making my own bread from scratch, and I haven’t stopped! I still haven’t graduated to sourdough yet (my one attempt was poorly timed in retrospect, it was right in the middle of everyone panic-buying flour and things around when coronavirus was really becoming a thing, and I didn’t want to waste a whole bunch of flour), but I’ve settled into a delicious routine with the “Saturday Overnight White Bread” recipe. I’m using 20% whole wheat flour, have bumped the water from 780mL to 790mL, and use a full quarter teaspoon of yeast (the recipe says “a scant quarter”). It’s at the point where I don’t even need to look at the recipe, I’ve got the timings and measurements totally memorised.
As well, Kristina bought me a pair of proofing baskets for Christmas last year, and MAN do they make a difference! They help keep the shape of the loaf and also wick moisture from the surface of it, which makes the crust come out even better. Feast your eyes on these beauties.
My associated lunches have been excellent as well, they’re primarily either cheese and tomato toasties with a recent addition of capsicum, or mushrooms cooked in a frying pan with garlic, sage, and rosemary, sitting on top of thickly-sliced tomato (also cooked in a frying pan) with crumbled up sharp cheddar cheese on top.
Beanie has gotten to know the exact sound of a knife cutting through bread, because whenever I start he’s over into the kitchen like a shot waiting for crumb fallout and also the tiny useless end-piece we always give him.
As mentioned above, my co-worker Rachel posted her own recipe that’s based as closely as possible on the really early Anzac biscuit recipes, and I made them last night and they’re amazing.
There’s two recipes, one is the pre-1920s version without coconut, and the other is with coconut and more sugar. I made the pre-1920s one as Kristina can’t eat coconut. The method is identical, just the ingredients differ.
I should also point out that they should go a lot flatter than in the picture above, but I cheated and microwaved the butter and golden syrup in the microwave rather than heating it on the stove, so the mixture didn’t stay warm and it didn’t end up spreading.
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
1 cup rolled oats (not steel cut or quick oats)
1 cup sugar (part white sugar, part soft brown sugar)
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
115g salted butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1.5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons of boiling water
Pre-1920s recipe without coconut
1 cup plain flour
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar
115g salted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons of boiling water
Preheat your oven to 170˚ degrees (no fan).
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
Melt butter and golden syrup slowly in a small saucepan.
In a jug, dissolve bicarb soda in boiling water.
Pour boiling water and bicarb into the butter and syrup. It will foam up. Add it immediatley to the dry ingredients.
Mix everything together just enough to combine. The mixture should be sticky. Don’t let it get cold.
Roll into teaspoon sized balls, and place on a baking sheet, spaced at least 10cm apart – they will spread a lot.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Your oven time may vary.
Remove from oven, and cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.
Store in an airtight container. They’ll keep for months.
Back in July and August, Kristina had been on a bit of a bread-making spree. We have an old bread machine that Kristina bought from Vinnies back in 2009 when she first moved over here from the US, and she’d been using that with varying amounts of success. I was talking to some of my co-workers and one of them recommended a book called Flour Water Salt Yeast and said you absolutely cannot go past it. I bought that for Kristina’s birthday, as well as the thing it says to bake the bread in, a Dutch oven.
It’s a really interesting book, even the most basic recipes only use a tiny amount of yeast (2 grams/½ a teaspoon), you don’t knead them, and the shortest recipe has the dough rising for five hours and proofing for another hour. You can get a good idea of how it all goes from the man himself, Ken Forkish.
As it turns out Kristina doesn’t really have the patience for it, so the bread-making has become my thing, and OH MY GOD THE BREAD FROM THIS BOOK. It is absolutely epic, nice and chewy like sourdough and the Dutch oven is the magic around how the crust comes out so good.
I’ve been doing a batch of bread almost every weekend now, and there’s something really enjoyable about the whole process. I’ve been tooting my efforts, get a load of all of this damn bread! The first two photos were the “Saturday White Bread” recipe where it’s done in one day, the third was the Overnight 40% (actually 35% and rye) Wholemeal Bread, and the last was the Overnight White Bread (which I screwed the timing up for because I didn’t read the recipe of when to start it and so had to put it into the fridge overnight so it didn’t rise too much, but it came out delicious anyway).