Wednesday, February 8

Breakfast Porridge Bread

When you bake a loaf of bread, something strange takes over and you unjustly feel that your loaf is quite simply the greatest in the World, ever. I have eaten a lot of bread in my time and whilst I don't believe this loaf will win international acclaim, it is bloody tasty when toasted. Like all great scientific discovery, it came about accidentally. I didn't have enough bread flour for a full loaf so threw in some oat-meal I had kicking about. I dislike porridge for breakfast but understand its healthy credentials - this is my compromise, enjoy!

Oh, and I'm not going to give a bread master class here, just the quantities and a quick talk through how to make it. If you need some more in-depth help, seek out Richard Bertinet's master classes online. He is the master baker of the South West.

Strong organic bread flour (try Shipton Mill) - 700g
Jumbo Oats - 150g
Yeast - 7g dry/15g fresh
Salt - 15g
Warm water - 550ml
Coarse polenta - 1 large handful

Blitz the oats in a liquidiser until they look like fine sawdust. Mix all the dry ingredients (except the polenta) together then add the water. Mix to form a rough dough then knead for five minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Cover with a tea towel and allow to double in size.

Using the polenta to stop the loaf sticking to the board, shape the dough into a loaf of your choice (bear in mind the dimensions of your toaster!).  Allow to prove again until doubled in size. Preheat your oven and two heavy baking trays to 250c. Boil the kettle. Slash the top of your loaf and place it directly onto one of the now very hot oven trays. Place the other very hot oven tray in the base of your oven and pour in some boiling water. Shut the door of the oven quickly to keep in the steam (the steam stops the bread 'bursting'). Bake for 25 to 30 mins turning once until heavily golden.

Cool on a rack upside down and don't attempt to cut and eat until the loaf has cooled to 'just warm' - this keeps the top crust crunchy and the steam and moisture inside. Cut thickly, toast well, slather in butter. Breakfast...done.

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