Posted by: mariawl | 2011/01/30

Wholemeal Cob Loaf

There’s nothing fancy about this, but it tastes as bread should – delicious! Bread takes a long time to make, but it’s simple really. In my opinion, making it by hand is much nicer (and far more fun!) than the sliced stuff you get in the supermarket.

Note: This recipe makes 1 loaf, or around 6-9 rolls.

Ingredients:

  • 475g Wholemeal Very Strong Bread Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 15g Soft Butter (or alternatively 15ml Vegetable Oil)
  • 7g pack Dried Yeast
  • 300ml Warm Water (1 part boiling, 2 parts cold)
  • Small amount of olive/sunflower oil

Method:

  1. Add flour to a large bowl and rub in the butter. Add the salt on one side of the bowl, and the yeast on the other side (otherwise the salt kills the yeast). Stir gently with a wooden spoon.
  2. Add about half of the water and then mix with your hands. Continue to add water until a soft dough is formed. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need a little more. You are looking for a soft dough which is not too sticky or soggy. Make sure all of the flour is combined from the bowl.
  3. Put a small amount of oil onto the work surface, rubbing it in gently with your fingers, then turn the dough onto the surface. (Using oil instead of flour here makes the dough stay at the same consistency). Fold the edges of the dough into the centre, turn and repeat until it is lightly covered in oil all over.
  4. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, depending on how quick you are. There are different methods of kneading. I like to use the heel of my hand to push out in one direction, fold this back on itself, then turn by 90° and repeat. If the dough gets too sticky, you may add a small amount of flour to your hands. You will be done when you can push the dough lightly with your finger and the indentation springs back up slightly.
  5. Prove the dough – place the dough back into the bowl and put a damp tea towel or lightly oiled clingfilm on top (making sure you give it plenty of room to rise). Place in a warm place (e.g. in front of the pre-heated oven) and leave for around an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Whilst waiting, grease and line a baking sheet (or a loaf tin, if using). Use silicone paper or baking paper only.
  6. Knock back the dough – Place the dough back onto a slightly floured work surface (can use flour here now since we are no longer incorporating ingredients) and knead firmly. Roll up the dough, turn by 45° and repeat several times. Now shape the loaf into the desirable shape.
  7. Place the loaf onto the prepared baking tray (or into the loaf tin). Once again, place a damp tea towel or oiled cling film on top and leave to prove until doubled in size (again, this may take an hour). Whilst you are waiting, preheat the oven to 220°C (or 200°C for fan-assisted ovens), and place an old roasting tin at the very bottom of the oven.
  8. Once the loaf has risen again, sprinkle some flour on top and gently rub in. Then use a large, sharp knife to make shallow cuts across the loaf. This can be in any pattern you like. A diamond shape looks good, but I just went with a few cuts in one direction.
  9. Put the loaf in the centre of the oven. Pour cold water into the old roasting tin just before you close the door. This will create steam to give the loaf a crisp and shiny crust.
  10. Bake for around 30 minutes. It is done when it has risen and is golden on top. To check, take it out of the oven and tap underneath gently. If it sounds hollow, it is done. Place on a wire rack to cool.
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