I’ve been making bread daily for my boys in our breadmaker for the past couple of years, but you’ve all seen me making sourdough bread recently, and thoroughly enjoying myself, so now Ben demands sourdough EVERYDAY and the breadmaker has been collecting dust…but my husband doesn’t like sourdough fresh, he only likes it toasted, so I’ve decided it’s only fair to make sourdough alternate days and standard loaves inbetween, and with all the sourdough bread I’ve been making by hand, I wanted to now make non sourdough loaves by hand too. You know me, always liking a challenge, I decided it’s time to try out using fresh yeast too.
This month, Delicious magazine included a recipe for a lovely looking handmade loaf…
…which I decided to try out. At this point I only had dried yeast…
…but it still worked perfectly…I even replicated the photo in the magazine as I egg washed the dough… …and the slashes…
The loaf came out perfectly and as the recipe includes milk and egg, it makes a lovely rich loaf, almost like brioche minus the sweetness.
Then it was time to try out fresh yeast.
You can get fresh yeast from your local supermarket if they have an internal bakery – at Tesco they don’t charge you, they just give you a ‘cake’ of yeast :) I split it into 15g portions and froze what I didn’t use as it only keeps for a couple of days in the fridge. I can then defrost the portions as I need them.
Note: the rule of thumb that I’ve read is that whatever weight of dried yeast a recipe asks for, you double it for fresh yeast. So replace 7g dried yeast with 14 – 15g fresh yeast.
This was cake of yeast I was given, it almost looked like a cake of soap!
I made the magazine loaf again and it doubled in size with the inclusion of the fresh yeast, it was great to watch it grow! However, I do not have any photos for you, it got eaten too quickly!!! I decided to try the fresh yeast again and finally make some focaccia, I’ve seen so many of you make wonderful looking loaves of focaccia and after reading Sally’s post the other day, I decided yesterday was the day. I know that Ben likes rosemary and sea salt so decided to use those flavours in my first attempt.
Once again, the dough grew really well and really quickly – I’m loving the fresh yeast!!! What great stuff!
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
300ml warm water
1 tsp fine salt
15g fresh yeast or 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp dried rosemary & chunky sea salt
1. Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mix with 50ml of the warm water. Stir to melt the yeast and create a milky solution.
2. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the yeast solution and gradually mix in the remaining warm water plus the oil until the dough comes together – add a dash more water if it seems dry.
3. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes, until smooth. (The dough was quite sloppy and moist so I needed to keep adding some more flour to the table but it didn’t affect the texture of the bread.)
4. Put into a large oiled bowl, cover with cling film and prove for 1 & 1/2 hours at room temperature.
5. Knock out the air, shape into a large circle/oval depending on the shape and size of your tray, and put on an oiled/silicone paper lined baking sheet. Cover with oiled cling film and prove for 45 minutes.
6. Press fingertips into the dough all over, stretching the dough out slightly as you do, drizzle with oil, scatter with sea salt and rosemary, then bake for 25 minutes.
7. Drizzle with oil and serve warm.
Note: when ‘oiled cling film’ is required, I use spray olive oil or Lurpaks Cooks Range Cooking Mist – I use this a lot, it’s a light butter spray. I use it to ‘oil’ the bowl too. Selma reviewed the new Lurpaks Cooks Range recently and I’ve used it ever since, it works well for frying eggs too.
The verdict was thumbs up all round! Ben and Graham tucked into it last night and loved it. I rarely eat the bread I make, but today I decided to try some of my creation and made a focaccia sandwich with goats cheese and some baby plum toasties that I had roasted yesterday with garlic and olive oil…absolutely heavenly!! Definitely worth the bloated belly I am now sporting! Bring on the bread making :)
I’m sure I’ll be experimenting with even more bread recipes this week, I just love making my own bread and watching it develop, the sense of achievement is massive, and I have such appreciative taste testers, it’s a joy to make it, so if you’ve got any recipes you think I’d like, do send me your links, or share them in the comments section for everyone to see.
I hope you are all having a good weekend :) x
PS There has of course continued to be endless sourdough making too, this was today’s loaf….