21st Nov ’12: Plain White Stoneground

It feels slightly strange to be working backwards but catching up in the right order would have been tedious, I think. I have been blogging my baking exploits elsewhere and only today elected to separate this part of my life out into a new blog. At some point I’ll summarise how we got here in an About post.

Four white cobs

Our first batch of yeast was delivered last week and I wasted no time in trying out the sack of Stoneground bread flour that I had purchased via Amazon. (Bacheldre Watermill Stoneground Strong Bakers White Flour 16 kg)

I knew that my back was not up to doing the whole job by hand, so I mixed up my dough in the Kenwood. This was not hugely successful, as I overloaded the machine with 1.4 kilos of flour. I blame the pain killers – I am not naturally this stupid.

A crazy rescue blend of machine and hand work resulted in four cobs that look almost the business.

This is just a standard while loaf mix: stoneground flour, small amount of salt, water and yeast. Half a teaspoon of sugar, to get the yeast going.  I added a little olive oil. I baked them in pairs. One pair is deliberately a higher bake, I wish to see which I prefer from this flour. I have 16 kilos to use so I may as well form a plan of attack.

Now. I love baking with real yeast and I always have. I find it more satisfying and I can tell the difference in the mix and the rise, and also the flavour. I know that it is not fashionable to say so and many, if not most, bakers these days maintain that the dried stuff is (a) as good and (b) more reliable and (c) nobody can tell the difference. I like that little bit of mystery myself, and I swear I can taste the difference. This particular yeast was extremely lively – even though my kitchen is chilly, 1 ounce of yeast raised 3lbs of flour in double quick time. Too fast, I thought, so I knocked the dough back after 40 minutes and gave it a further half hour’s rise.

We started one loaf for tea, finishing it the next day when it was still perfectly acceptable and in no need of toasting. I froze the remaining three cobs and we have since thawed one and eaten it. It was perfectly fresh and edible. It also made great toast.

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