I have just finished my second class of the 4 week Arbutus Bread Course and I am really enjoying it, so much so that I’m already disappointed that I’m half way through the course. I want to keep going there every week to eat and learn about bread forever! Its so much fun to go every week to listen and learn from Declan Ryan about the art of making artisan bread. You can see how passionate he is about break making as his face literally lights up when he talks about it and his past experiences in different bakeries across the world.
This week we learnt how to make Sourdough and Brown Yeast Bread. Their Brown Yeast Bread is really amazing and totally unlike any other brown bread you will have tried. Its really moist, have a bit of a chew and is not dense like traditional brown sodas. It also has the most amazing sesame seed crust… delicious! It also only requires one prove and so is probably the speediest yeast bread you can make.
There is a funny history behind this particular loaf, and it seems there is a bit of a debate as to who has the naming rights to it! It was invented by Doris Grant, the wife of a cardiologist who was striving to make a delicious, healthy, fibre filled bread and so is it is also known as a Grant Loaf. However in Ireland it is often referred to as “Ballymaloe Bread”. Myrtle Allen founder of Ballymaloe House was taught this recipe by Stephen Pearce’s (the Irish potter) mother many years ago, and it has become a Ballymaloe staple and so now is known as Ballymaloe Bread in Ireland. Isn’t it interesting to know all the history behind this humble loaf?
I also left the course this week with a mighty goody bag from Arbutus including a pot of their starter, some fresh yeast and French T65 flour. I am totally equipped to recreate this at home this weekend, and a good friend has volunteered to be my guinea pig. I hope that I manage to recreate it well, but honestly I am more worried about killing the pot of Arbutus starter Declan gave me… It’s almost 20 years old and delicious! Keeping a starter has been compared to keeping a pet, and my track record with pets isn’t great, so here’s hoping my starter has a long healthy life!
300g Wholemeal flour (Try Macroom Wholewheat Stoneground)
150g of white flour
360ml water at 40C
7g fresh yeast (or 3g dry yeast)
9g Malt extract or Molasses (You can use honey if stuck but you won’t get the nice brown colour)
Sourdough Starter (around 100ml or a handful click here for recipe of how to make sourdough starter)
1. Dissolve yeast and malt extract in the warm water.
2. Place flour and salt in a bowl making a well in the centre and gradually add the water mixture. Using your hands combine all the ingredients into a dough (which will seem quite wet and very squidgy but this is normal!)
3. Place the dough in a well oiled baking LB tin, cover with a sprinkle of flour and leave it to rise for about an hour at room temperature.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6, bake for 30-40 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the base if fully cooked. Return to the oven out of the tin for 5/10 minutes to crisp up the sides and base. Leave to cool on a wire rack.