My mother would sometimes say 'Yer man is too sweet to be wholesome.' and perhaps it is just my prejudices but this post sounds to wholesome to be sweet. However in recent weeks I have had my considerable prejudices challenged. This is thanks firstly to Richard Bertinet's wonderful Dough, a book outlining simple contemporary breads. I have one very minor criticism of Bertinet's book which I will just get off my chest quickly (in fact on reflection it is not even a criticism, more a observation). Bertinet's book doesn't explore the use of old doughs or sourdoughs. I am guessing that his subheading Simple Contemporary Breads suggests that he never intended to go into these areas. Fair enough! It is reasonable not to frighten off novices by explaining how we will ferment doughs for 48 hours.
Light and fluffy with a delicate flavour, that is how this particular bread turned out. We sold our first four loaves today at Bandon Farmers Market to a esoteric crowd.
The Carrageen Moss we used comes from Easkey in Co. Sligo. Zoe and I had the pleasure of living up there for a couple of months in 2007. While we were in Sligo we would spin out to Easkey regularly, to take in the scenery and marvel at the fossilised seaweed. Easkey castle provides a beautiful backdrop to the frequently choppy seas.
For this bread we are currently using the following proportions.
70% White spelt
30% Wholemeal spelt
10% Spelt sourdough starter
1% Bakers yeast
2% Dried carrageen moss (dry weight)
For those of you not familiar with using percentages. Below is the receipt for a medium sized loaf in grams.
420g White spelt
180g Wholemeal spelt
360ml warm water
60ml spelt sourdough starter
6g bakers yeast
12g Dried carrageen moss (dry weight)
I have been intending for some time now to post a description of creating your own sourdough starters (it's not as painful as it sounds!)
Soak the seaweed for two hours in water. Take it out and chop it up. I prefer a rough chop, too fine and you lose the texture of the seaweed.
Weigh out your flours. Mix the yeast, warm water and sourdough together, making sure you don't have a clump of yeast at the bottom of your container (good decisions come from experience, experience comes from bad decisions).
Cover with a damp tea towel (or anything that stops the air creating a film on your dough) and leave aside for about an hour. The double in size rule is a reasonably useful rule of thumb.
Gently remove from the bowl and shape into your desired loaf. If you don't have a dough scraper, wet your hand and you will be able to handle the dough easier. Place on a greased tray or tin and set aside to prove for another 45 minute (covering with the same damp tea towel).
A useful tip for knowing if the dough is ready is push it with your finger, if it does not spring back then its ready for the oven.
Bake at 220 c for approximately 40 minutes. Another useful rule of thumb is if it sound hollow, it is likely to be done.
Perhaps it goes without saying that this kind of earthy bread goes particularly well with fish.