It’s a simple pleasure

It’s one of life’s simple pleasures, freshly made bread, hot out of the oven. No preservatives or nasty bleaches. Just wholesome ingredients that never fail to put on a smile on my face.

I’ve tried lots of recipes over the years, some with fresh yeast, some with dried, some with beer, all with varying degrees of success. (If you read my blog you’ll know my problem is I always fail to follow the recipe word for word).

At the supermarket today, I went to grab a loaf of wholemeal, but decided making my own would be much better for my body and my soul. I didn’t use a recipe for this one and I’m happy to say, I think it worked a treat.

Wholemeal pistachio and coconut bread

3 cups of wholemeal plain flour

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon of dried yeast

Approx one and half cups of lukewarm water

handful of chopped up pistachios

handful of shredded coconut

Add the flour, yeast, salt and water to a large bowl. Bring it all together with your fingers, cover and place in a warm spot for at least an hour (more if you have time). After an hour or so, it should have doubled in size. Poke the dough with your finger, if it springs back then it’s ok to move onto the next stage.

Flour your bench so you can start the kneading process. I always use the heel of my hands, working away from myself, fold in the sides and keep repeating this process. At this stage you can add the other ingredients, just keep kneading and thinking loving thoughts, until the dough is really elastic and feels happy. Not very scientific I know, but it really is all about touch and trusting your gut instincts.

Place gently into a loaf tin, cover and leave for another hour. At this point I turn the oven onto hot, really hot and I leave the loaf tin on top of the oven, the warmth really helps the final proving of the dough.

Once the dough has risen again and should now fill the tin nicely, place into the hot oven. Throw a cup of water onto the bottom of the oven to create steam and this will ensure you have a nice crunchy top.

That’s it. Simple. I think this loaf cooked for about 30 minutes. Tip it out of your tin. Knock the bottom with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow, its cooked. You can add whatever ingredients you like to a basic dough mixture. That’s the fun part! I often add dried figs and walnuts but you really can add whatever flavour combinations you like.

Give it a go and if it doesn’t turn out then you have a beautiful looking door-stop and the challenge of making it work next time!

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