On Saturday we had a church social at a local forest doing all sorts of bush craft from bivouacking, to bug hunting, to flower pressing, fire starting and nettle soup making. The kids loved it. The adults loved it for that matter too, and the rain held off!
Now everyone likes a bit of freshly baked bread to dunk in their nettle soup but where to find such luxury in the middle of the forest? I’d never even thought about baking bread al fresco but our guide showed us the simplest bread recipe known to man and it was truly scrumptious.
All you need is 2.5 cups of self raising flour and 1 cup of milk. To this basic recipe you can add in flavourings of your choice, the list is really endless. Anyway, mix it all together, adding a touch more flour if it’s too wet, and shape loosely into a round about an inch or so thick. Place in a pan directly on the fire, or on top of a grill if you have one with you. Cook for a few minutes either side et voila! Easy peasy bread!
Here are some pics. The last one was taken at home when I made some to go with a curry I’d made, adding in minced garlic and salt. Corriander (cilantro for my American followers) would’ve been great in their too had I had any to hand. I used a griddle pan on the stove and the result was a crispy exterior with soft, fluffy, carby goodness inside perfect for mopping up the spicy sauce. Enjoy!
Don’t ask me why, but I quite enjoy experimenting in baking with different flours, and spelt was the next in line on my floury culinary adventure. Seeing as my sister was visiting from Japan I thought I’d do a ‘fancy’ loaf to go with lunch on the day she arrived. Nothing says ‘welcome’ like the smell of freshly baked bread!
For this simple recipe you’ll knead…..(see what I did there?!)
500g spelt flour
1tsp dried yeast
300ml luke warm milk (I used semi-skimmed)
1/2 – 1tsp salt
50g soft butter
1 egg for brushing
Pre-heat the oven to 180oC (fan assisted).
Mix the yeast with a couple of tablespoons of the warm milk and leave to activate for 15 minutes.
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl then add in the yeast mixture and milk, before working in the soft butter.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rest for an hour.
After an hour knead the dough on a floured surface before cutting into three roughly equal parts and rolling into long sausage shapes.
Pinch the ends of the three sausage shapes together and start plaiting. Pinch together at the other end and tuck the ends underneath to finish.
Move onto an oiled baking tray, brush with the egg and sprinkle with some seeds if you’d like some extra crunch (I didn’t bother). Cover with cling again and leave to rise for about 25 minutes.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped on the underside and is temptingly golden on top.
Try to resist cutting into it until it has been left to cool for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!