I've blogged before about making cakes for Murray at work, who fixes things for us. Murray is the electronics expert, and he's the one you go to if you want your heater fixed or anything like that. He's easy to make things for because he likes fruitcake and his wife has left him so there's no-one at home to make them for him. Mel is another guy at work who will fix things; he's actually an electrician but had to stop doing that because of ill health, so he runs our photocopy room and gives a hand in the mechanical workshop - his hobby is model engineering. Because he likes mucking around with metal, he's the one you go to if you want something made. Last week I got him to make this lid for my big bread tin:
See the lid at the front? It slides over the lips on the tin so you can make square-topped sandwich bread; Mel whipped it up from a bit of scrap stainless steel.
Here's the inaugural sandwich loaf:
And here are a few slices:
He's a marvel, is Mel. He's also very difficult to do anything for; he has a perfectly good wife who looks after him very well, and he's also diabetic, so no cakes.
He's just this year been warned off white bread and orange juice and, in consequence, is about half the size he was six months ago. This is a very good thing, as Mel was sort of spherical before. But it also gave me an idea of what to make him - some nice multi-grain bread. I'd like to post the recipe, but there was a fair bit of "hmmm… that looks a bit wet, better put some more flour in" in the making, so I'm not 100% sure exactly how I did make it.
I know I started with about 1/3 cup kibbled wheat that I cooked in just enough water.
When it was soft and had cooled a little I added three heaped tablespoons of rolled oats, the same of polenta, and one each of oat bran and wheat bran. I left it to soak overnight.
This morning I added about 300g of strong white flour, 300g of wholemeal flour, 400ml of water, two teaspoons of yeast, and a good glug of olive oil. I mixed it in the Kenwood (DeLonghi in America) mixer using the dough hook, adding more strong flour (don't ask how much, I have no idea) until it was a nice dough, a bit sticky, but it did hold together. I kneaded it with the dough hook for ten minutes.
It was a bit sluggish rising, but eventually it grew enough, then I patted it out, cut off a hunk to make a wee bun for myself (I needed to taste it before offering it!), rolled it up to shape it, and put it in my newly lidded tin to rise. When it rose again to within an inch or so of the top, I baked it at 180˚C (350˚F) with the lid on for ~ 1/2 hour, then with the lid off for another 1/2-3/4 hour. And here it is:
Looks pretty good I think. And here is the wee bun with a slice of it cut off for me to try:
The wee bun came out of the oven when I took the lid off the big loaf. It is really nice; quite sweet even though there is no added sugar. I think that comes from soaking the grains overnight, a trick I took from The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread. Which is an excellent book, well edited too.