Why a good bread recipe is like a car / husband / favourite pair of jeans /

Filed in Blog by on November 24, 2009 7 Comments
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Mrs Green's bread of life recipe

Mrs Green's bread of life recipe

There are many people who make the simple art of bread making look like, well, a simple art.

There are others who make bread making look like an impossible task.

I fall, somewhat disheartened, into the latter description and it really annoys me.

I can make soup out of leftover Sunday lunch, cakes out of old pumpkins, pastry with my eyes shut but ask me to make one of the oldest recipes on the earth and I fail miserably.

I used to have a dog with a wheat addiction and even he would not eat my bread. He was more partial to chasing it around a field like a stick and dropping it back at my feet.

Kristen makes it look so darn easy with her lovely loaves of all shapes and sizes. I once had a go at her bread rolls and nobody would eat them.

So I gave up and acquired a bread machine. Even then I couldn’t bake bread unless I used a packet bread mix.

This kind of defeated the object in my opinion and it took me longer to get the bread out of the bread machine than it would have taken to bake the bread from scratch. I greased that paddle to within an inch of its life and it still never released the bread from its grip. Forget finding a sixpence in your Christmas pudding, finding a bread making paddle in your cheese sandwich is quite another matter.

Eventually the tin became warped from so much bashing on the work surface to free the loaf, that the bread maker found its way into the WEEE skip.

But you know, this bread making thing started to really get to me. How difficult could it be to created the staff of life itself? People have been making bread in caves over an open fire for millennia and I still couldn’t master it in a thermostatically controlled oven.

I tried recipe books, internet ideas, magazine recipes and the ones off the back of the bread packets. I spent the morning with a friend who can bake bread like I can make soup – we stood side by side baking bread together. She created a light, airy loaf, I created an inedible loaf with a runny insides. I even phoned Hovis and Allinsons for advise, but it seemed I was beyond help.

What you may not realise about me, is I’m not a quitter. Oh no no, no, no, no…. The more seemingly impossible something seems, the more determined I am to succeed.

I tried different recipes, each with varying degrees of success, then, then I came across a really weird sounding recipe over on the Self Sufficientish site, called Elsinore Bread. It contained, amongst other things cottage cheese and an egg. So not bread at all really, and I’m sure any bread purists will be holding up their hands in horror, but hey, I was willing to try anything.

Well my friends, I have to say I now have the best recipe in the world. I’ve adapted it a little along the way and here it is!

I’ve made this recipe three times, Mr and Little Miss Green love it and Mr Green even said the other day ‘If you make this bread all the time I will never buy shop bought bread again’.

Horrah!

So why do I think a bread recipe like a car, husband or favourite pair of jeans? In most instances you don’t take on the first one you find. You need to take them for a test drive, try on several pairs for comfort, check the gear stick feels good in your hand (I’m back on the car theme here ladies thank you) and date more than one before you find the perfect one for you – the one you would be happy with for the rest of your life.

So without further ado, here is an Elsinore bread adapted from Self sufficientish

Ingredients

1tbsp dried yeast
125ml hand hot water
100 grams Cottage Cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
330grams strong bread Flour
1/4 tsp baking powder

Method

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, cover and leave to stand for 20 mins.
2. Meanwhile put the oven on 100 degrees.
3. Put the cottage cheese and butter into a large bowl and put into the oven to warm for 20 minutes.
4. Turn off the oven, take out the bowl and mash the cottage cheese with the melted butter and egg.
5. Add the yeast mixture and stir well
6. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until you get a stiff dough.
7. Turn the mixture onto a floured board and knead for 5 mins.  I find it quite sticky, so just add more bread flour as you go.
8. Put into a large bowl, cover and leave until doubled in size.
9. Knead the dough again for 5 mins and put into a 2lb bread tin.
10. Cover and leave until it rises to the top of the tin
11. Pre-heat the oven to 220 c.
12. Bake for 10 mins then lower the temperature to 200 c and bake for a further 25 mins

bread2

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About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

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  1. Sharon says:

    Looks good!
    I love making bread and always ready to try a new recipe. I won’t tell my husband it’s got cottage cheese in it though!

  2. Marsha says:

    Your bread looks great! It goes to show that perseverance does pay off.

    And what an adventure you had with your bread machine! Yikes! If you ever decided to invest in another one, may I recommend a Zojirushi. They’re lovely machines with two paddles. In your case, you may imagine that that would be twice the trouble. 🙂 But mine makes lovely bread all the time and it’s easy to get the bread out of the pan 99.9 percent of the time. And that .1 percent of the time? I try to look upon it as arm aerobics as I shake and shake be bread pan.

  3. Just in case you ever try the bread machine again, I didn’t use mine to bake the bread. Just to mix it and let it rise. I use it all the time for pasta dough as well. But I always take bread dough out and bake it in the oven. Bread machines are coated with a non-stick surface and I don’t trust that for baking. And the one time I tried it, the hook absolutely got stuck in the bread.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Sharon: Hi Sharon; no I didn’t mention the cottage cheese until the bread had arrived in their stomachs LOL!

    @Marsha: Hi Marsha, welcome to the site; I love all the photos on your blog; it’s wonderful! Thanks for the recommendation for a bread machine; I shall bear that in mind 😉

    @ThinkingWoman: Thanks for your idea; you know, I LOVE the kneading part of making bread; I really feel my energy going into the food for the people I love and I think I would miss that aspect 😉

  5. LJayne says:

    We made cottage cheese rolls at Naomi’s cooking class the other week and they were yummy. We have a bread maker because with 3 kids (I know, not very environmentally friendly in itself!) I just don’t have the time. We did when we only had the 1.

    I do think experimentation is good though. We’ve found the 750g white loaf works better for us than the 1kg loaf even though that means making more often. The slices aren’t too big and I just get the odd crust left for breadcrumbs, whereas before I was wasting more.

    Definitely down to the best recipe. I’m making christmas puddings on sunday and have found nothing to beat Queen Delia. And my brownie recipe is one from a children’s cook book. Just works best with my oven and dish combination. Luckily, yum yum 😉

  6. sandy says:

    I am not really a bread person, but this looks so good that I am going to try it. ta

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @LJayne: I have a feeling a bread maker might be MORE environmentally friendly. Surely it uses less fuel to run a breadmaker than an oven ..
    I agree; with cooking, experimentation is key. Enjoy the Christmas puddings; I made ours on Sunday 🙂

    @sandy: Good luck, Sandy – I hope it turns out well for you 🙂

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