Today is monthly food prep day.
What the hell is monthly food prep day? I hear you thinking. Well, to make sure I eat right and don’t end up taking the easy (and less healthy) food options when I’m in a rush, I spend one day a month baking and cooking my little pole pants off to make as many meals as I can to freeze for the rest of the month.
We polers have something in common and that is that we obviously love the fun and exciting things in life. Yes, we rock! But for me, that lust for life comes with an inability to say NO which means I am the King of double booking. I’m always so excited to say yes to anything that sounds even remotely fun coming my way that I forget to check my diary and end up double booking my self to the hilt.
So in-between trying to figure out whether I’m meant to be at a pole class, looking after my mum or meeting a friend for a beer making experience, I also have to fit in food. If I don’t have something good to hand I will either eat crap or, worse still, skip eating altogether. Neither of these options is going to help my pole missions.
Hence – food prep day! And food prep day always involves baking bread.
Now, I know a lot of people demonise bread and gluten these days and I know this is often for good reasons, but a lot of bread avoidance is unjustified and purely as a result of marketing nonsense. According to the latest statistics, less than 1% of people actually have a reaction to gluten, yet more then a quarter of the UK population try to cut it out of their diet. If you think you do have a gluten allergy then go get checked out with a proper blood test, as you will know for sure then. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this recipe or, more importantly, our healthy pizza recipe.
As my nan would say “proper” bread has a ton of good attributes for a healthy diet and should not be thrown to one side. More importantly, if it’s done right it’s the actual BOMB. Rye, spelt, seeded, beer, monkey, cheese and olive, cobs, flat… for me, it’s bread all the way. No giving up what you love. Just remember, as much as we might love bread, it’s still high in carbs, so don’t eat a whole loaf in one sitting and save it for training days.
So why have I chosen rye bread if I’m not trying to reduce gluten?
Three reasons: 1. it gives it a rustic taste; 2. it is full of nutrients, and 3. it has a lower GI.
This recipe is a ‘light’ version as I find a full rye bread a bit heavy for my taste. If you like your rye bread full, just add more rye and less white flour, but add a little more water too as the fibre absorbs quite a lot.
✓ Nutritional balance includes protein, carbs, good fats and lots of vitamins and minerals
✓ Not boring – this is all about flavour, flavour, flavour
✓ Not only tastes delicious but looks great on the plate too!
✓ Fresh and seasonable
Makes a kilo loaf – about 2 hand sizes big !
Difficulty level: moderate
There are two parts to this recipe.
I always try to do a standard starter if I don’t use a sour dough starter as it makes such a difference to the bread. If you are using a breadmaker, just get all the ingredients for the starter and the dough and put it all in together. Also, please buy good quality flour! One of the easiest ways to choose is to buy the one with the highest protein content.
- 20g fresh yeast or 8g dried yeast or 5g of quick yeast
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 290g luke warm water
- 280g natureal yougat
- 200g rye flour
- 200g spelt flour
- 280g strong bread flour.
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 30g butter
How to put it together
- Grab a large bowl and mix all the starter ingredients together until well combined. Leave this to stand for about 45mins or until it has at least started to get bubbles in it.
- Now get all the dough ingredients and mix them into the starter. If the dough is still super sticky, just add a little extra rye flour.
- Turn the dough onto a work surface, flour your hands and kneed for 10 minutes or until the dough feels satiny and smooth. If you don’t know how to kneed, check out this You Tube tutorial.
- Pour a little olive oil onto a work surface and lightly roll your dough in it until covered. Place the dough in the bowl, cover the bowl with cling film.
- Now put the bowl somewhere warm, but not hot and not in direct sun light. The dough needs to rise and will take about 2 hours but this depends how warm your house is. Now go keep your self-busy, go out, practice some moves or do what I did and clean the carbs out on your bike while thinking of the crunchy, soft centred loaf that awaits.
- Once doubled in size, take out the dough and put it on the work surface. knead for about 30 seconds.
- Now you need to make the dough into the shape you want. You can add it to a bread tin or hand form it into a round or long shape. I used my loaf proving basket to make a round shape.
- Cover the dough with a well-oiled piece of cling film.
- Leave it to prove again until it has doubled in size (this usually takes about an hour).
- Preheat your oven to Gas 6, 200C, 400F. Fill a baking tray with boiling water and put it in the bottom of the oven.
- Place the dough on a baking sheet, sprinkle a little rye flour on top of the dough, take a super sharp knife and slash the bread a few times- don’t go mental, now, this isn’t Friday the 13th. When you slash the bread, go at least half an inch down and don’t be light handed.
- When the oven is hot, place the tray with the dough on it in the middle of the oven and bake for about 30 mins.
- When it’s done, it will sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and leave for at least 30 mins.
- Slice the bread then eat or freeze.
Remember love your bread in moderation! Try not be a hater unless you have a good reason to be. 🙂
If you want any bread or baking advice, drop us a message. We’re always happy to chat bread!
If you are a true bread head or aspire to be that geeky, there are loads of bakeries and not for profit groups up and down the country here in England that offer bread making courses, like my local, Love Bread. They are well worth it if you get the chance.