I don't know anyone who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked bread!
Any bread will do and it always tastes better than shop bought stuff, which is generally full of additives and does nothing for your health!
I bought some lovely organic Ciabatta flour from Locavore a few weeks ago, along with organic rye flour and spelt flour. I'm always full of great intentions of baking bread every day but reality kicks in and sadly I don't get around to it as often as I'd like.
Now I'm no ace bread baker and like the majority of us, I like a nice simple recipe that doesn't involve lots of kneading, proving and rising time, but these resting times are actually essential and lots of things start happening, given some warmth and time, all important for the flavour and texture of the finished loaf. . Kneading is a vital step in bread making as it develops the gluten in the flour which gives the bread structure. You can however cheat and just use a mixer with a dough hook if you are fortunate enough to own one!
Commercial breadmaking is all about producing the cheapest loaf in the shortest possible time. Time means money after all and the more loaves that can be produced, the happier the producers are.
So more salt gets added for flavour, which would develop naturally given enough time! More yeast gets added, along with flour improvers, assorted enzymes, emulsifiers and preservatives to achieve the desired rise, texture and shelf life.
Again these things would happen naturally, given the right conditions and enough time, without the need for added chemicals!
Interestingly I came across an article a while ago about gluten and its effect on the gut, which can cause bloating, IBS type symptoms and general discomfort.
A questionnaire asking people with gluten sensitivity found that the majority of them could eat bread on holiday without symptoms, especially in Mediterranean countries where the bread is generally baked fresh every day, without additives or preservatives, and given enough time to prove and rise naturally.
So it could actually be all the additives in commercially produced bread which cause digestive issues. Have a look at the label the next time you buy bread, the list of ingredients is shocking!
So, on that note, if you always suffer with digestive issues after eating bread, then try making your own with good quality natural ingredients.
Always use organic flour for baking since wheat is one of the worst crops for pesticide residues,, check out my organic blog post. Also spelt flour has gluten with a different structure so its generally easier to digest and worth switching to.
So back to the baking, this Foccacia bread is delicious and since I've been craving a bit of sunshine, warmth and signs that spring is coming, I decided to add some Mediterranean flavours to the bread, to remind me of summer!
A wander round the garden yielded some lovely smelling rosemary and thyme so along with some dried oregano, sun dried tomatoes and a good dollop of pesto, my recipe was complete.
You could add some sliced olives, fresh basil, caramelised red onion and garlic or some chopped walnuts. I'll definitely be making this again and will share any good combinations I try.
I guess this bread would be just as nice with just some coarse sea salt and herbs and along with some quality oil will taste delicious.
Jenna made this bread with all ciabatta flour and used the mixer with the dough hook, resulting in light and fluffy bread.
I used 2 cups ciabatta flour and 1 cup of Spelt flour and kneaded mine by hand which gave a denser loaf which was still utterly delicious. We scoffed it last night with some lovely pasta!
So whatever method you choose, and whatever flour you use, your bread will smell and taste delicious, especially served warm straight from the oven and is sure to impress your family and friends!
I really hope you give this recipe a go, it's really possible to make the most delicious bread without too much effort and its miles ahead of shop bought bread! A perfect treat for the weekend!
I will be sharing lots more bread recipes as I try them so watch this space...
I have a brilliant simple flatbread recipe which I'll share soon...!
So here is the recipe...
Makes 1 large loaf
.......your health in your hands.....
🍃 Health educator🍃