Everything-in-the-Cupboard Granary Plaited Loaf

 

This is called an ‘everything in the cupboard’ loaf as its very adaptable to whatever seeds or herbs you have in your cupboard, and can use any kind of bread flour. I used plain strong white, but wholemeal or seeded would be great. And you can shape it as you wish, I love plaited loaves (apart from 8 strand plaited loaves, damn you Paul Hollywood) they’re a quick way to produce a professional looking loaf.

Ingredients. 

500g or 1lb bread flour, whatever your preference is, I used strong white.

7g or one sachet of fast action yeast.

1.5 tsp salt

150g mixed seeds, I used sunflower, linseed and poppy seeds.

1tbsp dried rosemary (or any herb of your choice, sage works nicely)

3tbsp of olive oil (preferably extra virgin)

1 egg ( for eggwash before baking)

Method

1) Measure into a large bowl your flour, salt and yeast. Ensuring that the yeast and the salt are on separate sides of the bowl as direct contact will mean the salt will kill the yeast. Add the mixture of seeds and herbs, stir together.

2) Measure the water (some people use 2/3 tap water to 1/3 boiled water, I just use hand hot water from a tap). Make a claw shape with your hand, pour the water into the dry mixture and using your ‘claw’ mix until a dough is formed and all the liquid is used up.

4) Place your dough on a lightly floured surface, try to use as little flour as possible, as this will be worked into the dough, and too much is effectively adding flour to a recipe that has enough and will cause your dough to be dense. Knead for around 5-10 mins until your dough is elastic.

5) Place in an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

6) You will know your dough is ready to knock back when you press it and it springs back. When this is the case, remove from the bowl and knead for a further 5 minutes, this will remove some of the excess air.

7) Shape your dough to desired shape and place on an oiled baking sheet. If plaiting, diving into three strands, push together the three straight at the top and proceed to plait, when you get to the end combine all the strands and tuck the end under the bread to leave a neat edge. Place on oiled baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 30-40 minutes to prove.

8) Preheat your oven to 220 degrees/gas mark 7.

9) The loaf should almost double in size, and again be springy to touch. Finally using a pastry brush egg-wash your loaf and place in the middle of the oven for 15minutes, after 15 min turn the oven down to 190 degrees/gas mark 5 and cook for another 15 mins. Turn the loaf over and tap to see if it sounds hollow, this will mean its cooked through, if not return to the oven for a few more minutes.

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