Friday, October 21, 2011

JustineJoeKeithBrent Bread

I popped down to the Occupy Wellington action this morning before coming to university. I just wanted to put in a 'hoorah!' for those fellas and all the other occupiers around the world. They were in fine spirits, there was a wonderful atmosphere down there this morning. I dropped off some chocolate, bread and fruit. Which seemed like an odd food parcel - I meant to bake! I'm thinking one day I'll write a memoir called 'I Meant to Bake'. I am constantly taking odd food to things because I run myself out of time. It's hard sometimes to find vegan treats at local dairys. Maybe 'hard's not the right word - it's just that you can never really guarantee what vegan food will be at the dairy that is local to where you're going. When I was vegetarian, I could safely think - Oh, they'll be some potatoe chips or biscuits - but yeah, you can't always say that with vegan food. Once I took a jar of capers and some carrots to an afternoon tea. But anyway, thank you everyone involved with the Occupy movement - I really appreciate your time and energy.

Last night, Brent dictated his bread recipe to me. So I've put that below here. Just as some backgorund. One of the things I eat as part of my Ayurvedic doodad is daily-made wholemeal bread. So for about three years we have baked bread most days. To start off with we used a bread-maker, which was good, but we couldn't quite get the hang of it and most of the bread we made was a bit blurg. Then our friend Justine gave us the most amazing recipe for bread which we pretty much used every day. At that stage I was home most days so I would mix and knead the bread in the morning and the bread would be ready to bake at lunchtime. Then I started working and going to school so we started mixing and kneading the bread at night and putting it in the fridge to rise slowly over night - then we could bake it in the morning (this was our friend Joe's idea he's a biologist and another amazing cook). This worked pretty well but then we had a bit of revelation thanks to another friend of ours who is an amazing baker and breadmaker. We asked Keith to teach us how to make bread so ours and another family got together one weekend at Kaith's place, the kids played, and he taught us everything he knew about breadmaking - which was heaps. So the recipe that appears below is the final incarnation of Justine's recipe through Joe's suggestions with Keith's advice and Brent's experience. This is a really simple bread, it isn't a loaf we make it flat and put oil and herbs on it before we bake it, so it is sort of a bastardised foccaccia. I am pretty sure it would work as a loaf but I love the oil - baha. We still make other breads sometimes - bagels, cornbread, manoush - but this is the one we make for the everyday.

We still buy store-bought bread. We had a go at making all our own bread but it was just too much for us. If you're interested in bread I've found some the information on the Real Bread Campaign website really helpful. I heard an interview with one of the founders of this campaign and it was a bit scary but the website seems a lot less daunting.

Okay, so here is the recipe. The science behind it is that you let time do your kneading - which sounds like a self-help book which I will write as soon as I finish 'I Meant to Bake!'.


2 tsp active yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup hot tap water

Mix the water, yeast and sugar together. Leave for 5 minutes or until you get back to it (in our house at the moment usually one episode of 'Downton Abbey). You want it to bubble and froth.

Add 3 cups whole meal flour
1 tbls olive oil
About a tsp of salt

1 1/2 cups of hot water tap water
Mix it together so that everything is well mised. This mixture will be way runnier than a regular bread mixture - there is no way you could knead it.

Cover the mixing bowl with a teat towel and go to bed.

In the morning:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius

Place the mixture on a baking tray. We use a reuseable silicon baking mat which seems to work well. Wit our hands we spread the mixture out, it is still pretty sticky, like you couldn't make buns probably. When it is all pressed out flat we poru a bit of olive oil over it and sprinkle some herbs on. We use: rosemary, oregano, parsley, sometimes we make za'tar and put that on.

Bake in the oven until brown on top and bottom, then cool on a cooling rack.

Yeah, it's yum.

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