After my lovely, yet exhausting weekend, I needed a slow day today to reset. I found myself yet again without anything new planned, as you know by now, an increasingly annoying habit of mine. So, with low energy and a busy mind, there was only one thing for it – bake some bread.
One of the reasons I love bread is the low effort vs. high reward – deceptively simple to make, yet you gain a high level of satisfaction having made something with your own hands, before tucking into a warm loaf. The other reason is the kneading. Oh, how I love this! It’s so meditative and pleasurable to simply focus on the soft, pliable dough under hand, to feel the magic of the dough coming together – it instantly calms the mind.
Making bread is something I’ve been doing for a number of years, and although I haven’t been overly adventurous, I can still make a ciabatta, focaccia, or a flatbread at the drop of a hat, as long as I’m following a recipe. Today I was feeling confident, and with my eye on something new, I decided to go off-book and make a loaf my own way.
After discovering an unopened pack of spelt and wholemeal flour at the back of the cupboard, I weighed 500g out, the amount I know most loaves need. From there I eyeballed the rest, adding salt, oil, and warm water, before kneading it until it felt silky smooth. After the first prove, I added linseed and pumpkin seeds (I’ve never added any seeds to bread before so this was very new), formed it into a rough shape, and left it for its final rise on the counter. I had no idea how long anything would take but just trusted in the way the bread looked and my rough prior experience. I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t feeling confident when I put it in the oven: there were far too many unknown quantities.
As you can see, I should probably become a baker now as I made one cracking loaf of bread. It had a lovely crispy crust, but was soft and bouncy inside and if I do say so myself, tasted amazing.