Today I made bread.
Yeast, flour, water, salt a little oil - ingredients that form the basis of life in a kitchen.
There is something special about making bread. The process calls to the soul, tells it to slow down, to knock back, rest and then rise. This life sustaining food is simple. It even has been hailed by French doctors as an essential food for women, as it raises their serotoin levels, enough to stop mild depression.
My dearest friend Bruni asked me what my last meal on earth would be, and I said, 'Bread, cheese, an apple, some salad.' But bread formed the foundation of the meal. It makes me ache with sadness when I meet people who say outloud, 'bread is the enemy, we have to ban it.' Bread, real bread, the sort that needs used up and doesn't last until the next morning is a food that nourishes the soul. On a daily basis worldwide it feeds bodies, minds and spirits.
It doesn't call for fancy ingredients, just a little time and a respect.
The bread I made today is South African in origin, the recipe belongs to the sassy & sensational chef Rozanne Stevens, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Belfast Cookery School a week ago - on Day 4, I'll be writing about what she taught me. Rozanne told me it was her Gran who created this bread and it is traditionally eaten at Braais (a South African BBQ, and something you MUST experience).
The really fun thing about the bread is the fact it is baked in tin cans. You know the sort chopped tomatoes come in? Well, these are washed, then well oiled, and the spongy dough popped inside before it goes into the oven. When you take them out of the oven, the dough has puffed up into mushroom like clouds, that flow over the tops of the tins. They look fantastic.
We ate the bread with a rustic vegetable soup. I made the soup with a range of veggies I found in the fridge - carrots, onions one red, one white, four bulbs of garlic a head of brocoli and from my larder a tin of chickpeas, harciot beans, cannelloni beans, 1/2 packet of red lentils, a can of passata, some piri piri powder, and some stock. I fried up the onions, garlic, then veg in some olive oil, added the stock, the lentils, the passata, some salt and pepper, let it cook, then blend - viola yummy sustaining food. Perfect for chilly Autumnal days.
Here's Rozanne's recipe from her excellent cookery book Delish - which I highly recommend you get a copy of, keep on the lookout for a review coming soon.
Tin Can Corn Bread
- 1kg plain flour (I used a mixture of wholemeal and white)
- 2tsp instant dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 300ml room temperature beer
- 1 tin large sweetcorn
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 150c cheddar grated (I used parmesan as I didn't have any cheddar)
I used four clean and oiled tin cans, plus a loaf tin for this quantity of bread
- Sift flour onto a clean work surface and sprinkle dry yeast, sugar, and salt over the flour
- Make a well in the centre, add the beer and sweetcorn
- Mix gently until it all comes together, but is a wet dough, if its too dry add water
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, shape into a ball and palce in a bowl oiled with olive oil, cover with a clean tea towel
- After about 40 minutes, knock back the dough by kneading and divide into balls
- Place the dough into the well oiled pots (about 3/4 full) place the pots onto a baking tray
- Sprinkle each loaf with the grated cheese and bake at 180'C for about 20 minutes (I cooked it on a tray resting on the rack at the bottom of the top oven in an aga, with the cold shelf on top three runners up)
- The bread is cooked when it sounds hollow when tapped, and when a skewer comes out clean
If you make this bread, be sure to let me know in the comments and send Rozanne a tweet with a picture.
That's it for now...
Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable