Wholewheat Bread

Home-made wholewheat bread is far superior to any commercial brown bread. Although it is most delicious when freshly baked and spread with butter, honey or cheese, stored correctly the bread keeps extremely zvell and can be served up to a week

after baking. For variation the loaves may be baked in well-greased flower pots, or shaped into cottage loaves on a baking

sheet.

To make cheese bread, add 12 ounces of finely grated Cheddar or any hard cheese to the flour with the yeast mixture.

1-

½ teaspoons butter 1 oz. yeast

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1

½ pints plus 4 teaspoons

lukewarm water 3 lb. stone-ground

wholewheat flour ½ tablespoon rock salt or

1 tablespoon table salt

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Grease the 4 loaf tins with the butter. Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the brown sugar with a kitchen

fork. Add 4 teaspoons of water and cream the water, sugar and yeast together to form a smooth paste. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the yeast has risen and is puffed up and frothy.

Put the flour and salt into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast mixture, the honey, the remaining lukewarm water and the oil. Using your fingers, or a spatula, gradually draw the flour into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out on to a floured board or marble slab and knead for about 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should then be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth. Set the bowl in a warm, draught-free place and leave it for 1 to 1 hours, or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl

on to a floured surface and knead vigor-ously for about 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into four pieces.

Roll and shape each piece into a loaf. Place the loaves in the tins. If you prefer a country-style loaf, use a heated, sharp knife or kitchen scissors to make a deep gash on the top of each loaf and then dust them with a little wholewheat

flour. Cover the tins with a damp cloth and return to a warm place for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the dough has risen to the top of the tins.

Preheat the oven to very hot 475 °F (Gas Mark 9, 240°C).

Place the tins in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then lower the oven temperature to hot 425°F (Gas Mark

7, 220°C), put the bread on a lower shelf in the oven and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes.

After removing the bread from the oven, tip the loaves out of the tins and rap the undersides with your knuckles. If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked. If the bread does not sound hollow, lower the oven temperature to fairly

hot 375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C), return the loaves, upside-down, to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cool the loaves on a wire rack.

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