Classic Wholemeal Loaf

Those of you who follow my blog might recall that back in June I had a go at making bread for the first time. That was a Challah bread, and whilst certainly not perfect, it went down a treat with Will. So much so, that the next day he came back from the supermarket with some ‘Very Strong Wholemeal Flour’. I think this was a fairly unsubtle hint that he wanted me to bake him some wholemeal bread! So with the use-by date looming on the flour, I decided to have a go.

I decided to bake Allinson’s Classic Wholemeal Loaf , as I had the exact flours specified in the recipe, and I thought, why not. I don’t know a lot about bread-making, but I did know that this time I wanted to avoid a dry dough. So I purposefully didn’t flour the surface very much, and to my delight, the dough didn’t stick at all. (Which was good, but secretly I wanted to use my new dough scraper, but didn’t need to! Anyway, I digress.)

Bread-making is fraught with possible problems; under-kneading, over-kneading, under-rising, over-rising, under-proving, over-proving etc. I think my dough could have done with a bit more kneading, as at the end of the process it wasn’t smooth and had a few cracks in it, which you can see developed further during baking. I kneaded the dough by hand for 10 minutes as specified, but I think it could have done with a bit longer. I was happy with the rising and proving stages though.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the bread. It rose further in the oven, and came out a nice shade of brown. As I mentioned, I would have preferred there not to be cracks on the top, but I think I need to work on kneading the dough a bit more, and also look at scoring the bread. Scoring the bread not only makes it look pretty, but also helps to control the ruptures that occur from the gas trying to escape the bread whilst baking. The loaf was also higher on one side, but I think that might just have been from how I shaped the dough when I put it in the tin.

The bread tasted nice and moist and had a good crust, but it did have quite a strong flavour which wasn’t 100% to my taste (Will likes it though – or so he says hehe). It was also quite dense and heavy, so I definitely need to work on fixing that. I did a little research afterwards, and came across some ‘prodding’ tips, so to speak, which will help me to determine when the dough has been kneaded and left to rise and prove enough. Have you tried making bread? How did you find it?

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Helena Davies

Baker and Linguist based in Cardiff, Wales.

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