Here in the Netherlands bread is serious business, as well as in some other European countries. People often eat sandwiches for breakfast as well as for lunch, and since not much goes in between the slices of bread, the bread had better be tasty! It’s interesting to note that in other countries such as Portugal it’s actually the other way around, where lunch and dinner are basically the same type of hot meal. Often in those countries it’s hard to get a nice loaf of bread to make sandwiches. A good thing of bread is that many of them are vegan, or otherwise relatively easy to veganize. So we’ll start off Vegan Mofo 2011 with a nice wholesome bread.
Recently we acquired River Cottage Handbook No. 3, by Daniel Stevens (Bloomsbury, London, 2009), which is dedicated to baking many different kinds of bread at home. It’s a great hands-on guide full of illustrative pictures and practical advice. It spends a good amount of time on getting the basics across, followed by many specialized bread recipes, from classic Italian breads (ciabatta) to more exotic ones (such as vetkoek, which appears to be similar to oliebollen, minus the raisins). One of the final chapters teaches you how to build your own clay oven in the garden, I’m not sure we’ll reach that level (besides the fact that we currently lack a garden…).
We’re slowly starting to explore the book (but a sourdough starter is in the works!), here you can see a nice wholemeal bread topped off with pumpkin seeds. It uses the basic bread recipe provided by Daniel, with the following ingredients:
- 500g wholemeal flout
- 5g dried yeast
- 10g salt
- 300ml warm water
The bread’s a bit flat, next time we’ll leave it to rise in a bread pan, to give it a more traditional shape. But the consistency and taste are great, and that’s what counts!