Bread, butter, jam.

For quite some time now I’ve been making our own bread.  It’s very satisfying and of course tasty (when I get the recipe and baking times correct).  I guess I’m turning into a bit of a bread snob, but the list of ingredients on the side of a standard supermarket loaf is scary.  Surely all you need is flour, yeast, salt and water? So my reasons for making bread:

1. You know what’s in it.

2. In comparison to a nice ‘artisan’ style loaf,  it’s cheap.

3. It’s very satisfying to make your own, one day i’ll be fully sustainable…..(drifts off into some floaty dreamworld), the reality of that would be ridiculous, so let’s forget about the sustainability discussion for now.

4. I have an enormous bag of bread flour to use, 25kg of untreated organic white flour No.4 to be precise, that has just been delivered from Shipton Mill.

At 25kg, that should make approx 50 loaves, so at £21.50 for a bag that works out at ermmm, errrr, (opens up Windows calculator) just under 50p. So quite cheap for a decent loaf.

It is well worth looking at Shipton Mill’s website as they sell all sorts of different flours, it can be difficult to restrict yourself.  I also ordered a 25kg bag of soft cake and pastry organic white flour, I have no idea how many cakes that’ll make, I estimate….a lot.

I’ve been trying out different recipes, but have found The Two Day Loaf from Dan Lepard’s book Short and Sweet to be very good.  Although leaving it that long does seem to produce an overproofed loaf, so a little less time and you get a nice bit of oven spring.  Get me with my fancy pants bread baking words!

So here is my nicely oven sprung loaf.

To go with home baked bread, we made butter. Correction, I made butter.  I thought the boys would like shaking a jar of cream about, they did, for about 26sec.

So to make butter, you need some double cream and a jam jar, then shake, shake, shake, shake, shake some more, just a little more, then it’s done.

As you shake it, it’ll turn to whipped cream and stop sloshing about, you need to keep shaking until the butter separates leaving behind buttermilk.  You need to get as much buttermilk out as possible as it’s this that’ll turn your butter sour.  When you get a lump of butter in the jar, shake it a bit more then drain and gently squeeze it. That’s it, homemade butter.

To top it off I made some jam.  I had loads of gooseberries from Airport Granpa.  I like gooseberries, but i’m not keen on the pips, so I made jelly.

Things you need to make jam/jelly

  • A big pan
  • A  thermometer
  • A ladle
  • 2 small plates
  • Jars
  • A jam funnel
  • A jelly bag, for making jelly, not jam.

Ingredients for making gooseberry jelly

  • 900g gooseberries
  • 300 – 6000ml water (smaller amount of water for softer fruit)
  • sugar

Put the two small plates in the freezer (a handy tip from Derby Grandma).  Turn oven on very low about 100c and put jars, without lids on a baking tray into the oven, this will sterilize them.  Simmer fruit with water until soft, strain through a jelly bag.  For every 600ml of juice add 450g sugar.  Slowly heat the juice until the sugar has dissolved.  Then heat and boil rapidly, big pans are good as it will bubble up a lot.  The setting point temperature for jams and jellies is about 104c, but start checking at just over 100c.  Spoon a little jelly onto the frozen plate, the plate will rapidly cool the jelly and give an idea of what it’ll be like when cooled in a jar.  Push your finger gently through the jelly, if it starts to fold and wrinkle then it’s ready.

Ladle the jelly into jars, seal and leave to cool. Job done!