This is the Bread Thread!

(127 Posts)
LocalEdLeicsshire Thu 23-Jan-14 13:58:48

Rightho, I'm making bread. Specifically, I'm making the Mumsnet Loaf!This is something I've just invented - or rather, am on the very cusp of inventing. I'm hoping to be able to make my own bread every day, baking it to fit around my daily schedule. I've been taking advice from the man behind this great blog No Bread Is An Island. Here's the stuff. Here's the plan:

The Mumsnet Loaf recipe

500g strong flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon dried active yeast (2gms or less)
350ml lukewarm water
2 tbsp olive oil

Step 1: Get the kids to bed. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix the flour and salt in the food storer, then add the yeast liquid and olive oil.
Leave overnight in the kitchen.

Step 2: To be performed by my as-yet-unwitting husband. In the morning, (when, my love, you usually amble round the house just eating bananas and wishing someone else was up), shape the mixture into a loaf (adding more flour if it’s too wet) and place in an oiled loaf tin. Put the tin in an oiled plastic bag in the fridge.

Step 3: Get home from work/school, and bake the loaf at 220C for about 25-30 minutes.

We're not 100% sure it will work, me and the breadman, but if it did, it would be a great, no-hassle loaf. To make things a little harder, I'm going to try it with 100% wholemeal flour, which doesn't seem to be a popular bread-maker's choice.

What do you think? Have I just revolutionised bread-making? Will I put Greggs out of business? Or is this destined to be a sorry, sticky failure?

AnnTeek Thu 23-Jan-14 15:49:52

Will be watching with interest to see if this works!

I have a bread maker but haven't cant be arsed used it often.

LESuffolk Thu 23-Jan-14 19:03:33

How willing is the unwitting husband? wink

Mine bakes the bread in our house as i am useless at it and produce grey sticky bricks.

Breadandwine Fri 24-Jan-14 01:04:45

Hi LocalEd

Delighted you've started this thread - and I'll be glad to help in any way I can.

That's my blog linked to above, and I'll link back to here from it.

Hopefully you'll get more posters joining you on your breadmaking adventure. I want to get over the message that breadmaking is an easy, everyday activity (sorry, LESuffolk!), and the more people who already make their own bread join in, the more the message will get out.

The method outlined above should work - it's just that I'm not entirely sure about the timing involved. It may be that the loaf may need to be proved for a while longer after being taken out of the fridge.

As I said to the OP, the first loaf will be a marker - and amounts (mainly of yeast) and timings may need to be tweaked in the light of experience.

I'd join in myself, but I have a freezer full of bread!

About the choice of all wholemeal - this is something I discarded early on in my breadmaking career. I love the flavour of it, but it's a little dense for my taste - so I would use 400g wholemeal and 100g of strong white - just to give the loaf a bit of a lift. But hey, this is a learning curve! grin

For anyone who thinks this is a little beyond them, have a look at this 13 minute soda bread bap - done in the frying pan. If there's an easier bread, or a quicker one, I'd like to hear about it.

Why not have a go, Suffolk? You’ve got nothing to lose but 100g of s/r flour – and you won’t lose it anyway!

Your comment about only making bricks reminds me of the very first breadmaking course I ran, over 20 years ago, now. On the course was a Mrs Pearson, a farmer’s wife, “Bricks?” she said, “you could build a house with the bricks I’ve made!”

Three weeks later she came in with a beautiful loaf she’d made from a recipe in the Sunday Times. All I’d shown her was a couple of tweaks to the method she was using – and she was away!

Happy breadmaking! grin

Breadandwine Fri 24-Jan-14 01:31:02

Here's the post I've started in my blog, linking back to here.

Don't forget to take pics, LEL - which I could then put up in my blog! smile

LESuffolk Fri 24-Jan-14 10:01:55

Bless you both - I will have a go and have told my husband to supervise me (told? I sound a real charmer don't I? smile)

I have made Monkey Bread and yeast raised Snecken and they turn out well. Coincidentally my daughter started her Patissiere training recently and has been practising yeast baking all week. She dropped off a sackload of Marlborough Buns, Chelsea Buns, Cinnamon Rolls and Majorcan bread rolls last week that are in the freezer. She is going to look at the proceedings with interest.

How would kitchen/room temperature affect the overnight rise? We let our kitchen get pretty cold at night- in fact we have no heating on between 10 pm-7am as we all prefer a cooler house. Surely my house would be too cold and I don't have an airing cupboard?

I'll post this on the local page.

LESuffolk Fri 24-Jan-14 10:04:24

That Socca Omelette sounds lovely Bread. I have a bag of gram flour so that's on my lunch list.

LocalEdLeicsshire Fri 24-Jan-14 19:34:45

The first loaf is made! It has a very nice texture and mostly, a nice taste (more details following). It is not very much risen though - is only about 4cm high. Is this what you mean by wholemeal being 'dense'? Would it rise more with the addition of white bread flour? Or do I need it to be in a warmer place (I could leave it in our airing cupboard all day, perhaps)? Should I add more yeast? Would kneading it at some point help it rise more?

My main issue, really, though, is with a slightly 'fermented' taste it has. It's not awful - in fact, it's the same taste as my breadmaker used to produce. But I don't like it. What shall I do?

Questions, questions! I'm putting photos of the loaf up on the local facebook page now.

Breadandwine Sat 25-Jan-14 00:08:27


As I expected, a partial success!

4cm is not very high - even for a loaf made with all wholemeal - so it would probably have continued rising after taking it out of the fridge.

What happens with a loaf that hasn't risen properly is that it is very dense inside - so the heat can't penetrate, as it can with a better risen loaf. So the inside isn't as cooked as well as it could be - which may account for the slightly 'fermented' taste.

I'm going to make your loaf - I'll make it with the same amount of yeast as you did, but I won't put it in the fridge to retard it. Since I'll be around all day, I'll be able to keep an eye on it.

If you could make your loaf with twice as much yeast - and put it in the fridge as before - we'll see if that works. But it does need to roughly double in size - so if it hasn't risen properly, just give it more time out of the fridge.

I would also use 20% white flour - so 400g wholemeal and 100g white - which is what I shall make as well.

Is that OK?

Have you a link for your FB page?

Cheers, B&W

Breadandwine Sat 25-Jan-14 01:44:57

OK, I've now mixed the dough.

I put the 2g of dried yeast in my food storer, warmed 200g of water (20 seconds in the microwave) and poured that over the yeast. I mixed this for a couple of minutes* until it was all dissolved, then I added 400g w/m flour, 100g white flour and 1/2 heaped teaspoon salt. Then I added the rest of the water - cold this time - (150g), plus a glug of olive oil.

I've taken a pic of the mixed dough, and I'll take another pic in the morning to see how much it has risen overnight.

I'll then shape it and put it in a loaf tin, place it in an oiled plastic bag and leave it on the worktop.

See you tomorrow!

*The yeast was about half a teaspoon. For anyone following this who wants to use fresh yeast, use double this amount - a teaspoon. Fresh yeast dissolves much quicker than dried.

thekitchenfairy Sat 25-Jan-14 07:38:15

The only way we've had a daily loaf is to have a sourdough starter, but I am watching this with interest as DCs couldn't cope with the SD tang so we've abandoned it.

Good luck with today's loaf!

LocalEdLeicsshire Sat 25-Jan-14 08:56:45

Thank you for all the advice and for trying out this next loaf! As we still have lots left of Loaf no. 1 (and I am quite happily eating it), I'm not going to start making another loaf until tonight. So I'll see how yours goes. One perhaps relevant point is that our house is generally very cold. I'll bear that in mind when deciding where to leave it.

The Mumsnet Local facebook page can be accessed by clicking on the facebook link in the top right-hand corner. It's not all about bread, obviously, but there are some relevant posts!

Breadandwine Sat 25-Jan-14 12:45:17

Here's what was waiting for me when I came down this morning - always good to see the dough has risen.

To shape the loaf I tipped the dough out on the workbench, gave the food storer a light sprinkling of flour and scraped it [pretty] clean. I gave the dough a few stretches and folds - few pics on my blog - kneaded it for a few seconds, shaped it into a loaf and dropped it into the loaf tin.

I haven't used this tin - old when my dad took over the bakery in 1948 - so I oiled it carefully and placed a strip of baking parchment along the bottom of the tin. If it does stick, I can slide a knife between the side of the loaf and the tin and it'll come loose.

I mixed the dough last night about 12.20am - and put it to prove around 11.20am, so it's had 11 hours proving.

It's now on my worktop and I took a pic of it in the tin. When it rises later on, I'll be able to compare the two to see how much it has risen. I'll stick all this on my blog.

I'll see if I can't access your FB page, LEL, thanks.

Breadandwine Sat 25-Jan-14 13:05:23

Meant to say, "I haven't used this tin…for many years, so I oiled it carefully…" confused

Breadandwine Sat 25-Jan-14 16:26:47

Well here it is! Full story on the blog, but, to be going on with:

3 hours 15 minutes proving then about 25 minutes in the oven at 215C.

I shall slice it, shortly, when it cools, and have a look at the crumb.

LocalEdLeicsshire Mon 27-Jan-14 10:28:31

Loaf no. 2: getting better

For this loaf, I made a few adjustments. I dissolved the yeast in warmer water and added the rest of the water as cold, as suggested by breadandwine. I used 100g strong white flour in the mix. I left it out in the kitchen the whole time, not using the fridge at all. I kneaded and folded it a few times before putting it in the loaf tin.

The loaf is definitely lighter in terms of texture. But it's only 5cm high! And still has a definite 'beery' smell, meaning, I assume, that it's still not cooking completely.

So, here are some more questions about it all:

Am I possibly adding too much water? 350ml does not quite make the dough stick together, so I've been adding a little more. But then, when I come to put it in the loaf tin, it's really a bit soggy (so I then add more flour).

What is the difference between the first stage and the 'proving' stage? The way I'm doing it, the only real difference is that one stage takes place in the mixing bowl and the other in a loaf tin.

Should I put the loaf somewhere warmer? My house is really quite cold (it's not a modern house).

Should I use a smaller loaf tin, to make it rise higher?

Should I add sugar for the yeast (friends have suggested this)?

Would it be OK to add more salt? I'm finding it a little bland (and I'm not someone who adds salt lightly - neither am I accustomed to very salty food).

I'm happy to have answers from anyone at all.....

I'm gearing up for Loaf no. 3 tonight! I'm aiming for 6 inches!

Breadandwine Mon 27-Jan-14 15:08:29


You're going in the right direction, so that's good. smile

My loaftin measures 20cm x 13cm across the top (outside measurements) and is 9cm deep - it's the old-fashioned, what used to be called a 2lb loaftin.

A smaller loaftin for your loaves than the one you're using would certainly help to get it higher.

There's no need for sugar - there's plenty of food in the flour for the yeast to feed on. I see you're using Shipton's wholemeal flour - is that strong flour, may I ask?

The difference between the two proving stages is that the first one is to allow the flour and yeast to mature together. The longer this period is, the more flavour develops. The second proving is a preparation for baking - it needs to rise sufficiently for it to result in a, well, we're looking for 'a well-risen loaf'. And this is where you need to make adjustments, IMO.

My loaf took 3 and a quarter hours before I judged it to be risen enough to go into the oven - and my kitchen is reasonably warm. In a colder kitchen it would indeed take longer. This is why, in my recipes, I never give a time for the final proving - it's up to the baker to judge when the time is right for the bread to go into the oven.

This dough will definitely double in size - given time! So, do as I did and take a 'before' and 'after' pic. When you think it's doubled in size - then it can go in the oven. In your cold house, this might take 5 hours, or more. It's common for a beginner to put the bread in the oven too early - but you will make adjustments with every loaf you make.

Salt is a personal thing - it used to be (probably still is in most households) that 1 teaspoon of salt to 1lb of flour was the norm. I reduced mine down to half a teaspoon for a long while - now I'm back up to about 2/3 or 3/4 of a teaspoon for 500g flour (just over a pound). When I'm using 700g of flour, I use the easy calculation of 1g for each 100g of flour - so 7g of salt.

But if you want to use more, that's up to you.


GirlAboutTown Tue 28-Jan-14 16:32:56

Wow, have you seen you're top billing on DOTD - yes, the DOTD
- you're loaf will be legendary!

TeaOneSugar Tue 28-Jan-14 17:08:43

Watching with interest.

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jan-14 17:48:12

Great thread and love the photos!

I use 10 grams of dried yeast in a 1 pound loaf.

It rises faster and further.

Dissolve dried yeast in 2 fluid ounces of mildly warm water (not too warm though or you will kill it) and give it a good stir so it dissolves properly. Leave the yeast mix for about 5 - 10 mins until it froths up and then pour into flour with other ingredients.

I also put one teaspoon of sugar in the mix to make a crusty loaf top.

Peekaboomoo Tue 28-Jan-14 19:13:52

marking place. I often make pizza base in the morning, roll it out to shape it (without leaving it to rise) and then pop it on a baking sheet (minus toppings) and cling it and leave it in the fridge. Then all I need to do pre dinner is shove on toppings and stick in oven. Taste of base is fuller this way than making it fresh without time to leave to rise.

Have a breadmaker though, which I can fully recommend grin

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jan-14 20:00:13

Peekabooomoo - I have a breadmaker as well and it is programmable so it mixes, kneads, rise and knock back my dough. It then kneads it again and beeps to let me know when its done..

I then turn it out of the pan and shape by hand before putting in the real oven on a flat tray. I find it bakes better in a real oven and looks/tastes totally authentic hand made.

I also make brioche dough this way but bake in a real brioche tin in a real oven.

Perfect result every time. Someone on MN told me that the big flour millers test batches of their flour in breadmakers as they can guarantee a consistent result.

Sadly I cant eat any of it as I am severely intolerant to gluten - I have never tasted any loaf of bread I ever made. My family say they are nice though.

LocalEdLeicsshire Tue 28-Jan-14 20:18:39

Keep the advice coming. I've made Loaf no. 3 and it's still a bit beery-smelling. Full details to come tomorrow! I really do want to nail this loaf-a-day business!

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jan-14 21:13:17

Just read back through thread. Am I right in thinking you are not putting it in fridge anymore?

If it has been in fridge it will be really cold and if you try and bake it straight out of fridge it just wont rise. It has to be at a warmish room temp before putting in oven. Apologies if you know that already.

Also I find put a big flat tray in oven on the middle shelf before hand and heat it in oven on highest temperature and let the tray get really hot. Make sure your loaf is fully proved and risen in its tin and then open oven door and put tin on hot tray and shut door. Turn oven down a bit to Gas Mark 7 (190 C) to stop it burning.

You will get 'loaf spring' as the CO2 inside the loaf expands rapidly in the heat like a bomb going off before the loaf crust goes too hard and constrains the rise.

The beery smell I think is because you are letting it rise for so long. I suggest 10g of yeast and just a rapid 1.5 - 2 hour rise in a warm place (do you have an airing cupboard?) after your initial knead.

Then knock back, knead, put in tin, prove (again in a warm place), then bake. Don't let it prove too long. I would say 20 - 30 mins max in a warm place.

MoreBeta Tue 28-Jan-14 21:16:35

Sorry Gas Mark 7 is 220 degrees Celsius (probably use 200 if you have a fan oven).

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