When we embarked upon the clean eating lifestyle I have to admit bread and baking threw me. I just could not get my head around it. Baking is a big deal in our house and I wanted to still be able to bake while maintaining clean eating.
I have read lots of discussions against grains and heard a number of speakers talk on the topic too. For our family we still include grains in moderation and they have to be wholegrains.
So what does that really mean? Does it work to grab any loaf of bread from a bakery or from woolies shelves if it's brown? I had a chat to a number of bakers as well and no not all bread is created equal and neither is all flour. The few things they told me was rather eye opening. I strongly suggest you have a little read of the labels on your breads.
Of course you can get organic bread from a couple of different bakeries and also from farmers markets - they usually cost about $7 a loaf. There is also Ezekial Bread available around the traps as well. I am not a huge fan of it and the girls won't touch it. I mostly was reaching for the Burgen brand breads - they put out a heap of different ones - Wholemeal and seeds - sounded good the ingredient list is okayish -- creeping up there but mostly I can understand what's in it.
Water, Wholegrain Wholemeal Wheat Flour (28%), Wheat Gluten, Kibbled Rye, Mixed Seeds (8%) (Linseed, Poppy Seeds, Sunflower Seeds), Canola Oil, Baker's Yeast, Kibbled Soy, Kibbled Wheat, Vinegar, Iodised Salt, Cultured Whey, Buckwheat, Kibbled Corn, Kibbled Triticale, Rolled Oats, Kibbled Barley, Vitamins (Thiamin, Folate).
But still it wasn't sitting right with me.
I dabbled with the idea of making my own in a bread maker. A friend recommended that I buy a bread mix for a bread maker- I researched those and found that the Laucke brand was readily available and sounded quite good. A look at the ingredient list though and I was back to square one. As soon as I see numbers I have to put it back.
Mel suggested that I try Artisans Bread in 5 minutes a day. I watched the video and bought the book for it on my ipad. It looked easy enough and fitted beautifully with clean eating. My only concern was how difficult would it be - would it really work and my usual I have the dodgiest oven in the world. Then I was still lost in translating the whole flour issue.
I asked a nutritionist at a seminar I was at for gym and they recommended hands down spelt flour.I had been using spelt flour in some other recipes and they had been working.
The master recipe for wholegrain artisan bread is online a quick google will reveal it so its no secret. I'll pop it here so I can show you which products I ended up using as this is in what I call American ingredients and what worked for me.
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour ------ I used Spelt Flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour ----- I used Wholemeal Plain Flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 tablespoon Kosher salt---- I used Himalayan Pink Salt
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten ------ I used Gluten Flour
4 cups lukewarm water
The recipe and details of what to do is found here but in short you make this up and this is the base for all sorts of wholegrain breads. Watch the artisans at work - honestly it is as simple as they make it look.
I really recommend buying the book after you have mastered this and know that this works for you. As an ebook it's $14.99.
There are so many great recipes in there -including a sandwich one with honey in it that I'll be using for staple bread for the girls. There is also a Gluten Free section for those who need it (obviously this recipe isn't gluten free). While I dont have to deal wth gluten free unless my godson is here the premise is the same. simple 5 minutes a day.
Now a little breakdown of the types of flour I used and where I got them from
Spelt - I choose Organic Spelt flour and i have used it in anumber of different recipes. You can get it from woolies - in their macro range, from a health food store or you can buy it at the markets from a few stall holders - Gold Coast Turf Club Marjets for example have it as do Bangalow.
I personally choose organic for flour but you don't have to. Any spelt will be fine it will also be whole grain. You can read up on what spelt is here.
So far I have substituted spelt for anytime I have needed flour - pancakes, scones, pikelets - it all works. You can read the difference between spelt and wholemeal over here.
Wholemeal Plain Flour - I have been using Wholemeal Atta flour by Arta - say that fast LOL. It's readily available at woolies and is by Masterchef Jimmy - the girls love that he makes flour now. You can read up about it on the Arta website. I don't know for sure that there is anything better about this flour in comparison to say homebrand wholemeal flour but I like what I read about it and I have had successful recipes so that's all that matters to me at the moment.
Gluten Flour is trickier to get but you don't need much - I have had to buy it at Health food stores. I'm yet to see it in the supermarket. There are lots of brands if possible choose an organic one.
I have been using my $14.99 pizza stone to bake my freestanding loaves on. My oven doesn't retain heat very well - sigh one day I'd love a whole new kitchen - ANYHOW one thing they recommend is to get a thermometer to check your oven temp. Its on my to do list. You set it to 450 which in other speak is 230 so it's a hot oven. I didn't preheat mine enough I don't think to start and it still worked.
I just made my first batch of master dough in a HUGE ceramic basin with cling wrap over the top but I have now invested in a plastic tub from BIG W
I bought the 8.5 litre as that was all they had but I think the next size down 5.5 litre would be perfect. The master dough keeps for 14 days and makes 4 loaves.
In terms of making a traditional sandwich loaf style of bread I was on the lookout for a Pullman loaf tin as recommended by Artisans but I'm yet to find it. You can see all about it here.
Instead I went with this one
It's 28 x 13 x7 from Barrel and Crate (though there are very very similar ones in Big W for half the price - don't tell Richard.
There you have it - that culminates in nearly two months of research for me. I know obsessive much? But really I wanted the answers. Using these recipes and this style of baking is really simple it takes no time at all and now that I have the flour thing solved I'm excited to try a few other styles of bread too. I usually just add whatever seeds I have on hand to the top of the master recipe- pepitas, sesame, poppy sunflower. So if you don't want to invest in the book - use their guide from the video and their blog and add some seeds and you are all set too. I should also mention they have an original book which is not using whole grain flours if that is what you would like to try too and a pizza and flat bread book as well.
I'd love to know if you make your own bread and what you use or if you give this a try and have success.
Happy Bread Making!