Project BreadHead: 01 Granary Cob

Here is my first loaf for Project BreadHead. Exciting innit?!

So, here’s what you need:

Granary flour, salt, yeast and some lukewarm water.

For the yeast you can either use fresh yeast, which I gather goes off pretty quickly or dried yeast, which lasts a lot longer but is better than fast bake yeast. This is my first time using something other than fast bake. Except this one time at school but that doesn’t count. If you want to use fast bake, just use one sachet and put it straight in the flour.

Mix your salt and flour together and sift into a bowl. Create a well in the flour and put in a very low oven for five minutes to warm.

The sifting process will split out the flour and the wheat flakes. Keep the flakes, they’ll come in at the end.

Here is some dried yeast. Weird looking huh?!

To use this yeast, you need to prepare it first. Sprinkle the yeast into the lukewarm water, you’ll notice some of it sinks which is fine. Cover with cling film and put it somewhere warm for 15 minutes. It was sunny so the windowsill was fine, otherwise, airing cupboard works.

While that’s processing, prepare a proofing bowl by oiling it. I just use Sunflower Oil for this, use about a teaspoon and rub the whole bowl. This helps the rising, the dough doesn’t get stuck.

Once the yeast is ready, add to the flour and mix to form a sticky dough. Remove from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead for a good ten minutes and roll into a ball. It will become very elasticy after about 8 minutes or so. Put the ball in the oiled proofing bowl and cover with some oiled cling film and leave to rise for 60-75 minutes. Again, somewhere warm.

As with all rising the results vary. I’ve had some burtsing out of this bowl and some like this that have barely risen! Tip: poke the dough! If it springs back it’s not ready.

Now you need to do what the Americans call “knocking back” which basically means use your knuckles to push it down from the centre. This process redistributes the gases created in fermentation and makes sure the yeast is kept active. Do this for about 3 minutes and roll into a ball and flatten slightly. You want it to look like a round cushion, just not too flat. Place on a floured baking sheet and cover with the greasy proofing bowl. Leave to rise for 30-45 minutes.

Remove the bowl. Tada!

It should still be around 3/4 inch thick.

At this point, preheat your oven to gas mark 8. Mix a tiny amount of salt to some water and brush the dough all over. Use the sifted wheat flakes and sprinkle over the top.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to gas mark 6 and bake for a further 20 minutes. When ready it should be firm on the outside and when you tap the base it will sound hollow. I love that sound!

Slice and serve!

This is a really delicious bread. I would use less salt than recommended when adding the wheat flakes but other than that, yum! Nice, simple bread recipe, difficulty of 1/5, no harder than normal bread, just a bit more faff! The hardest part of this was sourcing Granary Flour but you can get that from FlourBin. I’ll be having this with my sandwiches today.

If you make this loaf and want to show it off, comment below. If I start to get enough responses, I’ll do a readers gallery!

Leave a Reply