Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Bread and Bread Bins

My name is Sue and I admit ... I have a 'thing' about bread bins.

I love the old enamel ones best and my collection of these resides on the conservatory windowsill.  "that's strange" you might whisper to yourself "why would she keep her bread there" ... well I'll let you into a secret they are full of  the dogs things.  Opened bags of treats in the blue one, new bags of treats in the white one and in the green one, their selection of balls, pulls and their grooming mitts and brushes. 

Useful, decorative and more importantly to me they are enamel bread bins and look wonderful  :-)

Over in the kitchen there is the pot bread bin .... it contains the bread  currently in use.  It's handy next to the toaster and the chopping boards.

So what is in the stainless steel one then ...

... it's bigger than the others.

It matches Ken ...

...and it's full of everything I need to actually make the bread.

My bread recipe, and the one that I will be sticking to for the majority of this year is simple and is written on a Post-it, which also resides in the bin along with my 'new to me' flour shifter.  Bought last week from the charity shop for 99p.  I thought a sifter would make me use less flour than my current method of grabbing a handful and scattering, we'll have to see if the ploy works.

I use my Kenwood to make  the bread these days, Ken has more stamina than me for the first 10 minute kneading, then I am kind and take over to give him a rest  ;-)

My Bread Recipe

500g Strong Bread Flour  (I use 300g white/200g brown) (5.3p per 100g)

1.5 tsp salt
1tsp sugar
7g easy yeast
15 mls oil
300mls warm water

All the dry ingredients go into Ken's bowl with the dough hook attachment in place.  He is switched on briefly to mix them together.  Then the oil and most of the water go in.  If things look dry the rest of the water is added.  Ken is left to do his thing at a slow to medium speed for about 10 minutes while I grease and flour the bread tins.

When the ball of dough is looking nice and smooth I take over, and on a floured worktop give the bread a good kneading before plonking it back into Ken's  bowl and covering it with .... a shower cap filched from a hotel room in the past.  If you didn't think to do this clingfilm will do or a clean tea towel.

Leave the dough in a warm place to double in size.

Once it has grown take off the covering and knock it back (punch it ... grrr).

Now it is time to give your dough another brief kneading and decide what you want to make. This amount of ingredients will give you a lovely family sized  loaf, a small loaf and four rolls, a small loaf and a pizza base or 6 to 9 bread rolls depending on the size you make them.

Shape your dough and then leave it to rise for the second time covered with a tea towel or floured clingfilm, you do not want the clingfilm to stick to your dough, be careful!!  If you leave your bread to rise in a warm place it will be ready in about half an hour, keep checking after that, you do not want it to rise too much or it will collapse back on itself. 

You can also leave it in a cool place to rise slowly, and this does develop the flavour nicely as well as giving you more time to go and do things.  You can even leave it overnight in the fridge and bring it back to room temperature the next day before baking.

Bake in a medium to hot oven for about 30 minutes for a loaf, less for buns and if you are making a pizza base place it on your pizza tray or an upturned baking sheet, add your sauce and toppings and then bake in a very hot oven until it is ready.

*** *** ***

As you might have guessed from this I am going to be useless at giving you timings and temperatures as I cook and bake on an Aga which is permanently at it's  own set temperatures depending on which oven or top plate I use.  The trick with cooking and baking is to get used to your own stove, being overly cautious at first until you get used to how it performs and each and every oven performs differently no matter what the manufacturer may tell you.

So there you have it my bread recipe, the basic ingredients can be added to in many ways.  Grated cheese and chopped nuts make a good loaf for slicing and dunking into homemade soup,  a handful of raisins or chopped dried fruit make it great for eventually turning into a bread and butter pudding ... after having a few slices warm from the oven with homemade jam of course.  You could use flavoured oil and add some garlic for a wonderful savoury loaf.

Experimentation is the key and with such a basic bread base it leaves the way clear for you to play with your food ... something I am highly in favour of.

As the finances grow tighter no doubt I will also cut back on the flours I buy, as it is quite easy possible to make bread with normal flour and at the moment in Asda these flours are just 45p, making it 3p per 100g.  Rather than my current flours, shown above which are costing me 5.3p per 100g.

So my current bread recipe per loaf is costing me 37p, if I switch to the cheaper flour which when not on offer is 52p, a homemade loaf will cost me 29p ... a saving of 8p. 

Whichever flour I continue to use, us getting into the habit of making our own bread will save a fortune when I see that a loaf of our current favourite bread is now £1.55 (19.4p per 100g).

Sue xx


  1. I make my own bread too, so satisfying and use the same recipe except no sugar. I've never put sugar in my bread mix, does it make a difference. I forgot to add salt once and that really does change the taste. Have you ever tried sourdough? I'm a convert, love it so much.

    1. There's minimal difference to be honest, it just rounds out the flavour slightly, especially if you are using a stronger flavoured oil.

      We don't really like sourdough, but do like soda bread, so if I ever run out of yeast or maybe just for a change I would make a soda loaf.

    2. I've tried to make soda bread in the past but it always has a slightly 'soapy' taste to it, any idea what I've been doing wrong, or could you steer me in direction of a good recipe. Thanks.

    3. I use yogurt instead of buttermilk or soured milk and it's lovely. Maybe worth a try.
      J x

    4. Anon. It only takes just a tad too much baking soda to give your bread a soapy taste. Try using just under the amount your recipe suggests.

      I use almond milk usually but I think to save money I may switch to homemade oat milk from now on. I'm vegan. 😊

  2. I look forward to seeing your challenge pan out throughout the year and what you get up growing in your poly tunnel, we still have fresh veg in the poly tunnels mixed salad leaves, celery, oca, I just cleared the beans and the last of the peppers and tomatoes last week, and outside we still have Kale Brassicas, Artichokes and parsnisps.

    1. I'll do a post about what we have left growing in the tunnels tomorrow.

  3. Very similar to how I make my bread except that it is Thermione who starts it off, not Ken.
    Half and half ordinary flour and bread flour is a great compromise, I doubt you could tell really, and if I didn't have a lovely friend who gets me strong flour cheaper than value plain, that's what I would do.
    J x

  4. Lucky you having an Aga!
    I'm wondering how to cost in baking in an electric oven, even with batch baking.
    I used to have a Rayburn which ticked over nicely at 300 degrees,kept the house aired and the water hot..minimal extra cost for a baking session!

    1. I had an Aga at our first rented farm, the I had to use an small electric hob and oven at our next place and swore then that when we bought our own smallholding I would have another Aga. She's a reconditioned older model but is worth her weight in gold 😊

      I think to start costing in the cost of your baking you could just take a meter reading before and after each baking session and using the cost of units (found on your bill) work out what each hour or session costs you. If you have a Smart meter it's even easier.

      My Aga is at full heat all the time and ready to use. She's is powered off our solar panels during the day with a boost from the National Grid at night ... she drained our batteries too much when she was left on solar power over night.

  5. I didn't realise you could use normal flour, I have always got the Asda bread flours in, sometimes I make it sometimes I buy a reduced loaf, but I want to try and make more this year and I can bake it when the oven is already on. Would love to hear about it if/when you try the other flour.

  6. I have a lovely enamel oblong bread bin. I gave up eating bread a while ago so now I use it to store my flour in and a few raisins/oats, etc. A small loaf for hubby (who loves bread) lasts a while nowadays, taken in slices from the freezer.... but you can't beat homemade!

  7. Homemade bread and rolls are on my to try list this year. Love, love, love, enamel, my apple pie never has a soggy bottom when I bake with an enamel pie plate!
    Following on from your previous post, the lovely lady isn't posting anymore, but "Anglesey Allsorts" is still up to view and a real inspiration. I save a bit of money by making my own birthday cards nothing fancy or clever, I find quite a few bits and bobs to make them with at car boot sales. Good luck with your year and I very much look forward to reading your progress, Vera.

    1. I used to read Anglesey Allsorts, she's not far from us and still trades at the car boot market on Angelsey, she has some wonderful things ... I daren't go 😉

    2. I met her in the summer, she is a lovely lady, I bought some of her vintage cards this year, I still look back and read Vicky's blog.

  8. I make my own bread, a honey wheat, but I use a bread machine, it's much stronger than me and knows what it's doing.

  9. I bake bread here as well. I use approximately the same ratio of white and whole wheat that you do. However my bread machine mixes it for me.

    God bless.

  10. Love the bread bins...I am always attracted to little dishes...OH says you can have too many - I suppose he is right - but it doesn't stop me looking longingly in a shop when I spy more.

  11. I don't knead my bread for more than abut a minute and that is to get into one lump and eventhen I knead it on the bench and use oil on the bench. I use the "Simply no knead method" for making the bread and it works a treat and i cna't remember where I got the idea of kneading it on an oiled bench but that too works a treat.

    1. Method here:

  12. Happy New Year Sue, and thank you for sharing your bread method and ingredients.

    My maternal Grandmother baked an electric oven without an automatic thermostat, a Moffit cooker that she used from when they moved into the house (built by my Grandfather built) in about 1933 until she moved to a smaller home in 1980. Nana knew her oven so, so well that her baking was always beautiful. I base baking on knowing my oven and adjusting for the weather/current climate. I will try your great bread recipe when it is a bit cooler in Wellington, NZ (27C yesterday).

    Best wishes and care to you, Alan, Mavis, Suky and magnificent Ginger,
    Michelle and tabby cat Megs, downunder

  13. Bread is an expensive everyday food. I would like to make more of my own bread perhaps 2018 is the year.

  14. I miss bread! My dh has ibs and struggles with any kind of grains really. So we don't keep any bread or crackers in the housr any more as even the GF ones don't seem to agree with him. He is ok with a bit if we go out but we can't keep any in the housr for everyday eating. I make grain free pizza bases or occasionally grain free crackers as a treat as these are more expensive to make. They are delicious though. Loving yur blog. You've inspired me to do a food challenge too! :) best wishes xx


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