Category Archives: Bread and ovens

Bread without an oven

4 types of bread in class:

  • Standard bread loaf – recipe here
  • shortening bread
  • yeast pancakes

Shortening bread

  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 1tbsp oil
  3. 1/4 Cup hot water

Rub oil into flour, add hot water and knead for 5-10min – until the dough silky.  Leave to rest for 10-20min then roll out flat.   Cook in a frypan.

Yeast Pancakes

  1. 1 cup flour
  2. 1 teaspoon dry yeast or 1 sachet
  3. 1 cup or so milk or water (to get the right consistancy)

Mix it up and leave it to rest for 10-20min.  Note:  Can use the sponge from the standard bread recipe.
Cook in a frypan with too much butter.  Useful when you’re hungry and you haven’t got bread ready.

Bread for the soup kitchen

The plan:  Make enough bread to feed 300 people on Thursday night.  I estimate this to be 30-45 loaves (2-3 runs of the oven).

How much flour?

1 loaf uses 5 cups of flour, so 15 loaves use 75 cups or 75*150g=11.25kg and 45 loaves = 33.75kg.  Btw I will need yeast too – 7g per loaf = 105g per 15 loaves or 315g for 45.

What’s the volume of the sponge?

I’m going to make the bread using yeast – I don’t have time to develop that much sourdough., but I’ll make a sponge on Wednesday morning.  Each loaf will need 600ml of sponge, or 0.6L x 15 x 3=9L x 3=27L of sponge.  I probably need some head room too.  So two containers – the copper cauldron and my new dough trough should be enough.

How long will it take?

I’ll have a team of 5 people, who can each knead 3 loaves at a time  – I’m thinking that we could finish the knead and shape in an hour or two if we run into problems.  So we will load up the oven with firewood immediately after shaping the first 15 loaves. (need to make some the right size and shape)   About the time the oven is hot, the first loaves should be ready to go in.

How much space do I need to lay out the loaves to rise?

About 3m of trestle space, according to my sketchup sketch.

How much flour?

Each time I make a loaf it uses 4-5 cups of flour.  At 150g/cup, that’s 750g flour.  They’re usually 2 cups wholemeal or spelt and 2-3 cups white or 300g other, 450g white.

At Festival, I want the following bread;

Soup Kitchen 30 loaves 14kg white, 10kg other
Household 3 loaves 1.4kg white, 1kg other 5.6kg white, 4kg other
classes 15 loaves 7kg white, 5kg other
currant buns 10 loaves (equiv) 7.5kg white, 1-2kg currants
TOTAL 20kg white, 9kg other, if soup kitchening;34kg white, 19kg other

That’s great.  Now I can work out how much to charge for currant buns and materials for my class.  I’ll also put in a bulk order from Hindustan imports and get them to deliver for free.  Where will I store it?

I should get them to sell me currants and spices too.

According to Elizabeth David, depending on where you lived, bread was commonly made with Rye, Millet, Barley, Spelt, Wholemeal or White.  I’m going to buy some of each  – for playing with, but I’ll probably only bring White, Rye and Wholemeal to Festival.

Oven Baked Bread Making

These are the class notes for the bread making class I will be running/have run at Festival 2013.  The bread making class is/was intended to support the operation of the community bakery set up adjacent to the Abbotsford campsite.

How will the community bakery work?

  • Members of the community bakery are encouraged to make bread regularly prior to Festival.
  • The oven will be built on Wednesday 27 March and the bakery will be set up on Thursday 28 March.
  • Members (signed up before Festival) will make their own bread and include a distinguishing mark so they take their own bread home when it’s cooked.
  • Members will participate in a roster that includes the making of the oven, provision of firewood and firing of the oven twice a day.

Bread Making Routine

I make bread almost every day.  This is the routine I have developed so that I can do it with as little effort as possible:

About 12-24 hours before I want a loaf of bread:

  1. Make bread from previous day’s sponge and put to rise
  2. Make sponge for tomorrow
  3. If I’m using sourdough: replenish starter for tomorrow’s sponge

2-12 hours later: Put loaf in oven for 30-60min depending on size of loaf.

Recipes/instructions

Flour

Buy breadmaking flour.  It has a higher protein content than “normal” cake making flour and you need this to make the dough strong enough to stick together.  You will have to make sure you read the packet carefully to avoid breadmix, which is breadmaking flour with other additives. In a typical supermarket you will find one type of  breadmaking flour and 10 type of breadmix.  Artisan bakeries will often sell breadmaking flour and you can get wholemeal and spelt flours there too.

I’m about to start experimenting with Atta flour from an indian grocery.  I understand it’s a wholegrain wheat flour and more like period wholemeal flours than what we can normally buy.

I usually make wholemeal or spelt bread, mixing these flours 50:50 with white flour.

Note:  these quantities are sufficient for a sandwich tin loaf.  When cooked in the oven at Festival, it will probably make two cottage sized loaves.

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread uses a starter instead of yeast.  You can get a starter from me at Festival, or you can start your own, or you can buy one online.  There are lots of recipes online for making starter, here’s one on a site that’s got lots of other good stuff too.  I tend to keep enough starter for one or two loaves in a glass jar on the kitchen bench.  Each time I use it it’s replenished with one cup of flour and 3/4 cup water.

Pour almost all the  starter into a non-metal bowl and add a cup of flour and a cup of water (milk also gives a good flavour).  Don’t scrape the starter out of the container, just replenish and mix the old and new starter.  You’ll effectively have 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of liquid in your bowl.  Leave it for 12-24 hours or so.  36 hours is probably too long. This is the sponge.

Add 2 cups of flour and knead it all together.  Add up to 1 cup more flour if you need to to stop it being too sticky.  When it’s almost right, add about a teaspoon of salt and knead it some more.  Then form it into the loaf shape you want and put it somewhere it won’t dry out until it’s about twice the size.

How long it needs to rise will depend on the local temperature and the strength of your starter.  I aim to have my bread rise in about 12 hours, so I can cook it first thing in the morning while I eat my breakfast.  When it’s cold I turn on my gas oven for 30 seconds and put it in the oven with the light on and it rises overnight (about 10-12 hours).  When it’s warmer I leave it out.

Get your oven as hot as you can and cook for 15 min.  Turn the oven down to about 200 degreesC, and take it out about 30min later (total cooking time about 45min).  check it’s ready by tapping the centre and the outsides and comparing the “knocking” sound.  If they’re the same and it sounds hollow it’s ready.  If you’re not sure you can turn off the oven and leave it for another 10min.  Cool the bread before you cut it, or you will get an awful mess.

“Sweet” bread

I’ve had a problem with my sourdough starter that’s made my bread very acidic and there has been a revolt in my family so lately I’ve been making bread with commercial yeast.  Here’s how I do it so it takes about 10min a day plus cooking time.

Mix 2 cups flour with 2 cups of water (or milk), a teaspoon (or sachet) of commercial yeast and a teaspoon of brown sugar.  Mix and leave it covered on the bench for 2-24 hours.  This stage is called a “sponge”

Add 2 cups of flour and knead it all together.  Add up to 1 cup more flour if you need to to stop it being too sticky.  When it’s almost right, add about a teaspoon of salt and knead it some more.  Then form it into the loaf shape you want and put it somewhere it won’t dry out until it’s about twice the size.

If I leave it on the bench this can take as little as an hour or two.  If I’ve made it in the evening, I often put it in the fridge overnight and it takes a little longer to cook in the morning.

Get your oven as hot as you can and cook for 15 min.  Turn the oven down to about 200 degreesC, and take it out about 30min later (total cooking time about 45min).  check it’s ready by tapping the centre and the outsides and comparing the “knocking” sound.  If they’re the same and it sounds hollow it’s ready.  If you’re not sure you can turn off the oven and leave it for another 10min.  Cool the bread before you cut it, or you will get an awful mess.

Bread

links:

Piadina – Italian flat bread with shortening and milk

Clibanus or Testum – small portable roman oven.  Article here

List of a bunch of regional italian breads – http://consar0.startlogic.com/pane.html

torta al testo – Umbrian flat bread with cheese and eggs

1894 description of cooking bread in Italian peasant homes and how the local bakery thing worked. – http://www.williamrubel.com/2011/10/14/bread-in-italy-circa-1893/