Friday, January 18, 2013


I know it's hard, but wait at least a little while for it cool before you stuck in                   Mans
These days it seems as if it’s all the rage to turn your nose up at foods that are high in carbohydrates. If I were to do that, I would probably starve. My quick ‘go to meals are pastas and sandwiches and I’m not about to change that just because it has become unfashionable amongst curtain ‘trendoids’ about town. There is probably is plenty of truth as to why a low carb diet is good for you, but hey, ‘what would Italy do without pasta and what the hell would the world do without bread??’ Anyhow, the chances are that a high carb diet will again become fashionable in the foreseeable future. In the meantime I’ll keep munching bread and occasionally making it.

In go the dry ingredients                                     Mans
Baking scared the living daylights out of me, so I avoided it at all costs, but when I decided to write ‘The Urban Hunter Gatherer Cookbook‘ (a painfully slow process, in my case) I could no longer ignore the baking guillotine that teetered above my head. It took a few goes to get it right, but now I mostly make it by feel and it usually leaves me feeling pleased as punch. Below is a basic bread dough recipe. By applying different techniques and a tweak here or there, it can be used for a whole basket of different bread types, such as oven bread, steamed bread, pizzas, focaccias, flat breads, braai bread (barbeque), pot bread or pretty much any style bread you have in mind I guess. The beauty of this oven baked one, is all in the crust.

 Making dough is like being a child again                Mans 
Wot You Need
700g white bread flour (stone ground is definitely better)
10g dry yeast
About 550ml tepid water
A pinch of salt
A pinch of sugar

Wot To Do
Mix the dry ingredients in a jolly big mixing bowl and add most of the water. Give it a good old mix with a wooden spoon until it forms a sticky dough. Flour a large work surface and tip the dough onto it. It’s now time to start kneading it, which is my most fun part (it reminds me of wedging clay in my parents pottery studio) Just work it by pushing, rolling and folding. Basically give it a gentle but firm pummelling (the heel of your hand is most useful). Keep doing this for about 10 minutes, until it’s light and springy. Pop it back into the your big bowl that you have cleaned and oiled (to stop it sticking). Place a tea towel over it and put it in a warm draught free spot. After an hour or so the dough should have doubled in size. It’s now time to ‘knock it back’ by tipping it back on your work surface and giving it another quick pummelling session (only a few minutes). Shape the dough into a ball or log and place on a floured baking tray, dust it with more flour, cover with your tea towel and place back in the warm spot. Switch your oven on to 250°C and place a small ovenproof bowl of water in it (this helps form a yummy crust). After about half an hour, when the dough is again twice its’ original size, gently shape the slightly flattened dough to make it higher. Again, gently place it in the oven and bake. After 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 220°C and bake for a further 25 minutes or so. It’s ready when it sounds hollow when you tap it. At least try to let it cool on a wire rack for a while, before you get stuck in.

This is the best part                                                                                                                                                       Mans

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