Llynnon Mill Wholemeal Bread Recipe
by Liz Thomas
(Macau, South China)
On my return to Macau from Anglesey I searched for a top recipe so I could bake some wholemeal bread with the flour from Llynnon Mill.
After some research through some old notes and on the internet I came across the following, which has turned out really well.
It is adapted from a recipe by Dan Lepard for "The Easiest Loaf in the World", published in "The Guardian Guide to Baking", November 2007. This recipe takes the hard work out of dough making and is very satisfying to make.
So here we go.
For the Sponge:
225 ml warm water - about 30ºC
1 level tsp easy-blend yeast
175 g strong white bread flour
Mix all together to form a thick slurry. I use the dough-hook on a Kenwood Chef (another childhood relic passed on to me by my mother years ago and still going strong!) but you can do it by hand with a wooden spoon.
Cover the bowl with cling-film and leave for 2 - 4 hours. You can also leave it overnight in a cool place and bring it back to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
In fact the overnight rest improves the flavour of the bread.
For the Dough:
175 g Llynnon Mill whole-meal flour
1 level tsp fine sea salt ( and to keep it really "Anglesey" you could use Halen Mon)
25 g butter or lard - melted
½ a vitamin C tablet - make sure that it is not flavoured and do not use the effervescent type
Whole-meal flours do not rise as easily as white flour due to a higher proportion of a chemical called glutathione which stops the development of the stretchiness of the dough resulting in a heavy loaf.
Vitamin C counteracts this and yields a much lighter textured bread. It is one of the only additives allowed in organic baking.
Crush the vitamin C tablet with the salt and add to the room temperature sponge, which should be all nice and bubbly, along with the Llynnon Mill flour and the melted fat.
Mix thoroughly by hand or with
a dough-hook - the dough will be soft in texture but don't be tempted to add extra flour unless it seems to be really wet.
When mixed cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave for 10 minutes.
Pour about two tbsp of light olive oil on a clean work surface and spread it around with the palm of your hand. Scoop the dough out of the bowl onto the oiled surface and knead quickly and gently about 8-10 times.
(I do 8, but that's because I have lived in China so long where 8 is a lucky number and I guess I have picked up the local superstitions!).
Replace in the bowl and cover and leave for another 10 minutes.
Knead briefly again, return to bowl for another 10 minutes and knead again making three brief kneads in all.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Clean the work surface and sprinkle lightly with strong white bread flour.
Tip out the dough and quickly flatten and squash it into a sausage.
Place the bread in a 5 x 9 inch loaf tin and leave in a warm place for 1 - 1 ½ hours or until it has doubled in size. After 1 hour pre-heat your oven to 240ºC.
Place the bread in the oven and quickly pour a small glass of water into the base of the oven to create a blast of steam -- this helps to form a good crust.
Bake the bread for 25 minutes, reduce oven heat to 220ºC and bake for a further 20 minutes until the bread is a dark golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Cool on a wire rack and don't be tempted to cut it until it is completely cold, if you do steam will escape and alter the texture of the bread.
If you want to eat it dripping with melted butter then reheat after slicing - makes delicious toast too.
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