There's no knead: Bill Granger's easy-bake bread
Baking your own bread gives a sense of satisfaction and will fill your home with a delicious aroma. But what's best, says Bill Granger, is that it's so easy
Sunday 20 October 2013
Making my own bread gives me a real sense of satisfaction, and I love it when the house is filled with that lovely, freshly baked aroma.
Even with the best of intentions, though, I'm not the kind of cook who has a bowl of starter dough lurking at the back of the fridge in preparation for the sourdough I plan on baking in 10 days' time.
Don't get me wrong, a buttered slice of toasted sourdough is a beautiful thing, but my life, and my fridge, are way too busy and chaotic for making it at home. So, if it's sourdough I want, I'll buy a loaf of Poilâne, and when baking bread at home, I'll opt for something more immediate.
The three recipes on these pages need just enough involvement for you to get your hands dirty in flour and that sense of achievement that anyone who has ever made bread will understand, but with almost no kneading and minimal rise time (if any).
They're also practical enough that you can make them without having to put the rest of your day on hold.
Bill's restaurant, Granger & Co, is at 75 Westbourne Grove, London W11, tel: 020 7229 9111, grangerandco.com
Seeded soda bread
This is so quick that I like to believe that should I wake up to realise we're out of bread for the kids' lunchboxes, I'd be able to rustle up a loaf in the time it takes to get them out of the house.
Makes 1 loaf
150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
150g wholemeal flour
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp clear honey
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Mix the plain and wholemeal flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl. Add the seeds. Make a well in the centre, pour in the honey and buttermilk and work everything together lightly with your hands until you have a loose, wet dough. With floured hands, shape the dough into a round.
Lebanese manoush with za'atar paste (Kristin Perers)
Transfer to the baking sheet and use a sharp knife to mark a cross in the top of the loaf. Bake for around 45 to 50 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack, cover with a slightly damp cloth and leave to cool.
Lebanese manoush with za'atar
It's so easy to get amazing-quality bread in shops these days that when I do make my own I like to do something more unusual than a bread I can buy down the road.
I've seen manoush eaten for breakfast on London's Edgware Road, but what I love is taking it to the table with some hummus or tahini-flavoured yoghurt for everyone to tear and dip.
Makes 6 flatbreads
For the bread
300g strong white flour
150g strong wholemeal flour
1½ tsp instant yeast
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
For the za'atar paste
4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp dried thyme
2 tbsp dried marjoram
2 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp sumac
2 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp olive oil
Extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh mint leaves
For the bread, place the flours, yeast, sugar and salt into a bowl, and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre then pour in 250ml of tepid water and stir to form a soft dough. Tip out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 1 minute. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a cloth, then set aside for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, using a pestle and mortar, pound all the ingredients except the oil for the za'atar, and stir in the olive oil. Set aside.
A slice of polenta, chilli and courgette bread, perfect served warm with butter (Kristin Perers)
Preheat the oven to 250C/480F/Gas8. Divide the dough into 6 rounds and use a rolling pin to roll them out into flatbreads. Dust an oven tray with flour. Transfer the breads to the tray and spread with za'atar. Bake for 5 minutes until light-golden and lightly crisp like a pizza. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh mint.
Polenta, chilli and courgette loaf
The Americans have cornbread and the Italians have polenta loaves – whatever you call it, this satisfying bread is great eaten slightly warm from the oven, with a little butter.
The courgette, chilli and Parmesan make it tasty enough to be eaten on its own, but for a Sunday brunch, it's delicious with roasted tomatoes and chunks of avocado.
Makes 1 loaf
300g plain flour
150g instant polenta
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
80g Parmesan, grated
1 courgette, grated
1 red chilli, chopped
½ tsp fennel seeds
190ml sour cream
125ml whole milk
1 tbsp caster sugar
15ml olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6. Place the flour, polenta, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir in half the Parmesan, the courgette, chilli and fennel seeds.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sour cream, milk, sugar, oil and eggs until smooth. Gently fold the sour-cream mixture into the bowl with the polenta mixture.
Pour into a greased 900g loaf tin. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 1 hour, covering after 40 minutes, to stop it taking on too much colour. The bread is ready when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack then slice and serve toasted with butter.
Food preparation: Rosie Reynolds and Marina Filippelli;
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