1/2 & 1/2 Bread

I’m sick of Thai bread. It’s white, weightless and they cut the crusts off. I’m not kidding. It just like the bread that Americans give little children. And it’s so full of preservatives that you can eat it 2 weeks later. Yuck. So, I decided to make my own. And no, I don’t have a bread machine.

I went out and bought a book called “The Bread Book” by Sara Lewis. It’s published in the UK where they use all these cute terms like “strong flour” (bread flour) , “treacle” (molasses) and “molasses sugar” (dark brown sugar). The problem is, it calls for all these great flours like “granery flour” and “malthouse flour” which are absolutely impossible to get here in Thailand.

So I’m improvising. I went over to Villa (the expensive farang grocery store) and bought stone ground whole wheat flour, bread flour, flax seeds, oats, dried milk powder, sunflower seeds and black sesame seeds. And I followed the recipe for “Farmhouse White Loaf” but made it a bit more… wholesome. Here’s my adapted recipe. I call it 1/2 and 1/2 bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup stone-ground wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cups bread flour (don’t use all-purpose)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons dried milk powder (makes the crust nicer)
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup warm water (you may need to add more here)

Method

  1. Put the flours in a large bowl. Cut the butter up into pieces and add to the flour. With your hands, mix the butter and flours until there are no more chunks of butter, and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the salt, sugar, yeast, milk powder and nuts. Add the water and mix until you have a dough (you may need to add a bit more than 3/4 cup, I add up to 1 cup if it’s dry)
  2. Flip the contents out onto your (clean I hope) table. Make sure it’s dusted with flour too so it doesn’t stick. Kneed for about 5-10 minutes, until the dough is springy and elastic. You want to do a lot of pulling to stretch out the gluten.
  3. Ball it up and throw it back in the bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap (that’s cling film for you weird Brits) or a damp towel and let it rise until doubled in size. This took me about 45 minutes, but it depends on how warm your kitchen is.
  4. Toss the dough back on your table again and kneed it once more, about 5 minuts or so. Roll it into a tube-shape and place inside a buttered bread pan (1lb/500g pan – like the ones used for making banana bread). Cover with your plastic wrap again (or towel) and let rise until it reaches over the top of the pan, about 30 min.
  5. Remove the plastic wrap, sprinkle the top with flour and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C (400°F) for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the tin and let cool on a wire rack.

Since this bread has no preservatives (yay) it’ll go hard in a day. So, slice it up once it’s cooled and throw it in a freezer bag in the freezer. What? You didn’t know you can freeze bread? Well, you can. Take it out and let it thaw and it’s as good as fresh. Great for toast too.

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