Free Book on Amazon Today

Hi folks,

Just a quick post to mention that my second book is on promotion on Amazon for the next 2 days:

Links:

US Readers

UK Readers

Home Baked Bread Kindle Cover 3a

So go and grab a copy today, and if you like it please leave a review.

Thanks everyone 🙂

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Flour – the basis of any good bread

Apple & Walnut Rye Bread

Bread only has four basic ingredients although others can be added. The four main ingredients are flour, yeast, salt and water.

Flour is by far the most important ingredient so try to buy the best organic flour you can afford. Wheat prices have soared recently, but remember, the cost of a loaf made at home is roughly half that of shop bought bread.

Check for any additives especially with white flour, as they may have bleaching agents added to make them whiter – how pointless! If you can find it, organic stoneground flour is best.

Wheat flour is the most common type of flour in the UK. A grain of wheat is actually a seed consisting of 3 parts: bran, germ and endosperm. The bran is the tough outer skin, the germ is the embryonic wheat plant and the endosperm is used as a food source by the germ in early development. The bran is a rich source of protein, the germ a good source of vitamins, and the endosperm a great source of carbohydrates, plus some protein, minerals and oil.

Why is this important?  Well, all these components have an effect on the bread making process, and as a scientist myself I like to understand what is going on during the process, and in this way you will give the whole task more respect. Also, understanding what your kneading is doing will almost certainly make you a better baker. I will explain a little more next time…

Apple & Walnut Rye Bread

More sourdough

Hi again,

Been having a real sourdough phase at the moment, especially sourdough rye bread. If you want the recipe you can find it here. I made this loaf with half white bread flour and half rye flour to make it slightly lighter.

I really like the combination of the slightly sour taste of sourdough with the nutty flavour from the rye flour. It makes a slightly denser loaf with a nice chewy crust and is great warm from the oven and covered in butter or dipped in some delicious home-made soup. As the rising times are long it is best to leave sourdough baking till the weekend.

I also baked a cracking apple pie which went down really after our Sunday lunch (roast pork) with a dollop of lightly whipped cream. You’ll need to go for a brisk walk after this lunch!!

Sourdough 50% rye bread

My first book!!

Well folks I have actually written my first book. This has been a real labour of love for me and was sparked off by friends and family nagging me! So I took some time out, took loads of pictures and compiled what I think is a pretty good book showing you all the fundamentals required to bake great bread at home.

I have written it so that it will (hopefully) appeal to experienced bakers and novices alike.

I have published the book on Amazon kindle and will be branching out and selling on other platforms in the future.

To have a look: (UK readers click here)

                           (International readers click here)

– and if you like it please free to buy it :P.

I would ask you all to please have a look at least and if anyone does borrow/buy it I would love some constructive feedback.

I am not a writer or salesperson, just a passionate baker who believes that good bread should be an important part of our lives and am trying in my own little way to do just that.

Use your loaf!

Right, enough about that. My next post will be about my “pimped” Victoria sponge. Till then…

The baker’s percentage

Last week was half term in the UK so the kids were off school. Kids love to bake cakes so much fun was had in the kitchen by all :).

I spent Saturday baking more sourdough. It is so good but I can only bake it at weekends because it is a long process :(. However the resulting bread is well worth it so if you haven’t tried it yet, please get a starter going and give it a go.

Today I want to share the recipe formula to which I work with all my breads. This is commonly known as the baker’s percentage and it is a good idea to commit this to memory. Don’t worry; soon the figures will be second nature.

The formula is:

Strong flour = 100%

Water = 60%

Salt = 2%

Yeast = 1%

To explain the above formula, take the weight of flour you are using as 100%. For ease, let’s say you are using 1kg of flour. This is the batch size I prefer as you can get two large or 3 small loaves from this size. Every other ingredient will be weighed as a percentage of 1kg.

In this case you will need 600ml of water. You can weigh the water if you wish (I do), as 1ml = 1g. You may need to use more water when working with wholemeal flour as it tends to absorb more water. You may need to go up to 65%, but start at 60% and then add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if required.

Weigh out 20g of salt for a batch this size.

Weigh out 10g yeast for a batch this size.

So for your basic 1kg batch of dough you will need:

Strong flour = 100% = 1kg

Water = 60% = 600ml

Salt = 2% = 20g

Yeast = 1% = 10g

If you stick to these percentages you can’t really go wrong and it makes it much easier to experiment. Just keep to these ratios and add some exciting ingredients such as olives, sun-dried tomatoes, fried onions, fresh herbs etc. and you will get great results every time plus you will get breads you won’t find in the shops! Knowing this formula really does give you the freedom and confidence to experiment so please memorise it.

Finally, just a quick update on my new guide to baking. It is pretty much finished now. I am just putting the final touches to it and adding some of my favourite recipes. This has been a real labour of love for me. If you are interested in getting a copy keep an eye out as I will be releasing it pretty soon. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it you can opt in to be notified here

And as the kids are back to school I can finally relax…!!!!

Baking and the future!

Well I hope you all had a good weekend.

We baked a German friendship cake at the weekend. It is one of these cakes where you feed it for 7 days (a bit like producing a sourdough starter) with flour, sugar and water. After the 7 days are up you split it into equal quantities, keep one portion for yourself and pass the others on :). You then add apples and raisins to the cake mix and bake. It was quite nice, a cross between a fruit cake and a fruit bread – it looked like a sponge but had the smell of bread!

A colleague asked me about bread baking the other day with regards to gluten and kneading. I explained it to her and pointed her to my article post here. I think it does a good job in explaining the role gluten plays in the bread making process.

I have been evaluating my life lately. I have a good well paid job but I REALLY want to open up my own small family run bakery where everything is hand baked on site. There is a bakery already in my village but it is not a “real” bakery – the bread is baked off site and is the same boring white tin loaf you find everywhere.

My family is very supportive and I think they like the idea of us all working together but it is a big step to take and  the current financial climate makes it quite risky but it is what I want to do. Perhaps it is just a dream at this stage but you never know – watch this space!

I also write information products and ebooks as I love to help people. In fact I have pretty much finished my bread baking e-book. It is a step by step guide to baking bread at home, showing you how to be a successful home baker. If you would like to know more just put your name down here. I will be giving a few copies away to my newsletter subscribers before I release it so if you haven’t signed up to my newsletter you can do it here (and remember you get a free report).

Have any of you followed your dreams? I would love to know as I need some inspiration and maybe that gentle nudge to just do it. If I was a single person I wouldn’t hesitate but things get more complicated when you have a family!

I hope you have a great week and get baking.

Baking mad!!

Well here we are nearly 2 weeks into the new year and I have gone baking (not barking!!) mad. My sourdough starter has taken on a life of its own so I have baked a plethora of sourdough loaves and rolls.

If you haven’t tried sourdough yet I highly recommend it. It does take a while to get your starter going and the baking process is a bit longer, but the results are so worth it. I have placed instructions for creating your starter here and a basic sourdough recipe here.

I will be baking some sweet rolls tonight filled with nuts and raisins.

For some reason I am really enjoying my baking at the moment which is great. What treats have you been baking so far this year? Please let me know as it may give me a few new ideas and if you haven’t started yet – give it a go. The small effort involved is well worth it and your family and friends will certainly appreciate it.

Just a quick update on my new guide to baking. It is pretty much finished now. I am just putting the final touches to it and adding some of my favourite recipes. This has been a labour of love and if you are interested in getting a copy, keep an eye out as I will be releasing it pretty soon. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it you can opt in to be notified here