There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly baked homemade bread in the kitchen. Our friends at Gail’s Bakery have shared with us their delicious Wholemeal Loaf recipe, ideal for an afternoon of Sunday baking.
Perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack, we think it tastes great with lashings of butter and a nice hot cuppa!
Gail’s Wholemeal Loaf
400ml cold water
560g stoneground wholemeal flour
15g fresh yeast
20g butter, at room temperature
2 tsp fine sea salt handful of rolled oats, for topping
Whole tray of ice cubes
1 large loaf
* Place the water, flour, yeast and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and knead with the dough hook on a low speed for 10 minutes. Then add the salt and knead for another 5 minutes.
* Take the bowl out of the mixer and cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Place well away from draughts until doubled in bulk – about 1–2 hours. Lightly butter or oil a 24cm x 10cm loaf tin. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto the kitchen surface and punch it down with your fist.
Top tip from Gail’s:
Lightly flour your work surface. If the dough is sticky, that’s all part of the process; don’t try to get around this by adding extra flour to the dough or surface at this stage. Just flour your hands very lightly.
* Knead by hand for a couple of minutes, gradually forming it into a pillow shape roughly as wide as the tin. Roll it into a bloomer as long as the tin without letting any air pockets form. Place in the tin, seam side down. Put the loaf inside a large plastic bag, inflated so that it won’t come into contact with the dough, and leave to rise, well away from any draughts, until doubled in size again – around 1–2 hours.
Top tip from Gail’s:
To bake your bread the next day, place the covered tin in the fridge and let it rest overnight. This will do wonders for the flavour of the bread. Remove from the fridge at least 2 hours before you plan to bake and allow to come back to room temperature. When the dough shows signs of life monitor it until it has doubled in size.
* When proved, preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7 and put a small baking tin on the base of the oven to act as a water vessel. Use a pastry brush to gently moisten the top of the loaf with water and sprinkle the oats on top. Tip the ice cubes into the baking tin and sit the loaf on the centre shelf. Bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes until well-risen with a dark brown, rounded, crusty top.
* Remove from the oven and turn out of the tin immediately. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes to dry out the crust. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before slicing.
For more delicious bakery inspiration visit www.gailsbread.co.uk