16 October 2008

The butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker… I certainly know which job I would choose!!! Which perhaps explains why every time I entered the local boulangerie (lovely French word for a bakery), a little voice inside my head would say “why are you not making this yourself…. “

The best kept secret is : BAKING BREAD IS EASY!

The basic recipe : 500 grams flour to 300mL water, yeast & salt

Then I play around with the types of flour used, sometimes adding extra cracked wheat, oat flakes or seeds!  The possibilities are endless. It is best to just throw caution to the wind and try your hand at what has been a time honoured tradition for centuries (even before the Kitchen Aid …. yes this era did actually exist). And did I mention the smell…. this is what the extra effort is all about – the secent of freshly baking bread wafting through your house.

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I used my home oven, local flour, dried yeast (which I had on hand) and my tried & true mixer to make this bread. Nothing high tech or fancy.  

My 1st attempts at making wholewheat bread were admirable, however as I was flying by the seat of my pants and not using a recipe… typical said Dougle… so there were a few issues to be sorted out:


  1. the oven temperature– my best results came from starting with a cold oven, convection heated with the bread inside to 200°C / 400°F (total cooking time 40 mins)
  2. milk vs water – milk gave a softer crust,  so I prefer water fort this type of bread
  3. water temperature– I used lukewarm water to better activate the yeast. Not hot or you will kill it!!!
  4. water quantity–  300mL for 500g of flour is sometimes not enough (depends on the type of flour used), adding 10mL more water produced a lighter dough that rose better
  5. salt – my 1st breads were lacking salt, so I increased this to 1 teaspoon
  6. Olive oil – I have been watching Rick Stein’s BBC cooking program where he adds olive oil to his pizza dough, so I gave this a try (2 tablespoons) and it made the dough more moist, yeah!!!
  7. Raising techniques– best results were from letting the dough rise twice. Preheat the oven slightly (ie 50°C), then turn it off , let the dough rise twice in the closed warm (but NOT hot) oven (see instructions below)








  • 300 grams white flour
  • 100 grams whole wheat flour
  • 100 grams spelt (an ancient European cereal grain)
  • 50 grams cracked wheat
  • 315 mL lukewarm (tepid) water
  • 1 packet dried yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Bread making instructions:

  1. In a large electric mixer combine the 3 types of flour, cracked wheat, dry yeast and salt. Mix well.
  2. With the mix on a slow speed, gradually add olive oil followed by the water.
  3. Next mix (knead) the dough for 8 minutes.
  4. Heat your oven slightly (ie MAX 50°C for 5 minutes) until it is just warm to the touch inside.
  5. Make the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover bowl with a clean tea towel.
  6. Now place in the slightly warm oven. With the door closed leave to RISE for 40 minutes.
  7. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  8. Evenly spread the dough in the lined tin.
  9. Make 3 long knife incisions into the dough.
  10. Cover with the tea towel and place in the warm oven for 40 minutes to RISE.
  11. Remove the tea towel. With the bread INSIDE the oven, heat to 200°C / 400°F
  12. Cook for 40 minutes.
  13. Remove from loaf tin and let cool on a cooling rack.

NOTE: You can replace the spelt flour with wholewheat or buckwheat flour. Depending on the density of your local flour you may need a little less or more water. Add 300mL and if the dough looks too try gradually add a little more until a nice even uniform ball forms.


  1. happygrub Says:

    Lovely, hooray for homemade bread!

  2. Olivier Says:

    What a treat to come back home after a hard day at work and to smell fresh bread like in a bakery! The good thing is also that it doesn’t become dry like industrial bread after a day….you can keep it in a kitchen towel to enjoy for many days!

  3. HAPPYGRUB: I agree, I have been making variations of this recipes for the past few weeks. Am thinking of buying a breadmaker – do you own one?

    OLIVIER: I now understand why the French buy bread (especially baguettes) EACH day…. as they god hard and dry out after only 24 hours. Homemade bread is a great solution, plus you can vary the recipe to your own taste.

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