OK, confession time.
I’ve given up on the sour dough.
I killed the starter. It may have even been deliberate. Yes, murder.
It all began so well. Minnie gave me some of her starter and a couple of bread-making demos. I nailed it. We ate it. I baked it as often as I could. And proudly told the world.
But then I got bored and starting resenting the ritual need to churn out bread. It became a chore. Not helped by the presence of a live yeast starter that needs to be used and fed in order to thrive. ‘The Thing’ grew and grew because I wasn’t using it enough. It sat there in its Tupperware container, all bloated bubbly and yeasty, willing me to use it. Goading me. I hated it for goading me. So I eked my revenge and gradually stopped feeding it. ‘The Thing’ starved. It was a slow, satisfying death.
Eventually I threw it out. By which stage it was practically beer. The evil mini-me inside my head danced on its grave and sang “ding dong the witch is dead!” with glee. The bread-maker assumed position.
And then, like a floozy moving in on the dead wife, this very attractive recipe for Norwegian Mountain Bread came my way.
It was passed on to Tom by the lovely Emma at work as her favourite bread recipe (she’s not a floozy, by the way). It’s fast becoming a firm favourite and I love that it’s been handed on in this way. The breadmaker is still churning out a good wholemeal loaf every couple of days, which Molly devours, and this has been supplementing it for a couple of weeks. It looks extremely dense but is surprisingly light in texture. It’s packed full of goodies so every mouthful feels completely virtuous.
But by far the best thing about it is it is so quick and easy. No kneading, no proving, nothing. Bung it all in a bowl, mix it up, pack it in a loaf tin and whack it in the oven. The cooking method is the genius behind it. The bread goes into a cold oven, beginning on the low heat then graduating to a higher one. So it basically proves in the oven. Truth be known, it’s not unlike cake.
So, if like me, you like big results with minimum effort, this might be the bread recipe for you.
p.s. I was googling the recipe to find out more about it (hoping it was an age old Norwegian recipe) and, alas, I saw Nigella Lawson mentioned somewhere. The below is an adaptation of the original as Emma has made a tweak or two and the soya milk subsitute is ours.
- 250ml soya milk (or semi-skimmed milk if you prefer. Using Soya makes it Molly-friendly for us and also low fat)
- 250ml water
- 350g wholemeal bread flour
- 50g rye flour
- 5 tablespoons of Linwoods milled Flaxseed and gogi berry mix*
- 7g easy blend yeast (one sachet) or 15g fresh yeast
- 50g porridge oats
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
* Or replace with 25g wheat germ and 3 tablespoons of linseeds which is in the original Nigella Lawson recipe
- Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl
- Boil the water and mix with cold milk (overall temperature of the liquid should then be OK for the yeast)
- Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients
- Stir to make a sticky, porridge-like mixture and then scrape into a buttered loaf tin
- Put into a COLD oven
- Turn oven on to 110C
- After 30 minutes turn up to 180C and bake for an hour (less in fan oven)
- Then it should slip out of the tin