You might think living in the land of the baguette and croissant that here at Eco-Gites of Lenault we would not want to make our own bread and would instead be popping to the bakery every morning for fresh supplies. For us though, with busy morning schedules, popping to the bakery is not that convenient. You might think we could stock up for a few days but decent French bread does not keep more than a day and packaged French bread is (in our opinion) vile! So making our own is the way to go.
In England and when we first came to France we had a bread-maker which finally, through much use, gave up the ghost and died. We thought about getting a new one but decided whilst we liked the convenience of the bread maker, the bread it produced was all rather the same. Instead a friend was selling her Kenwood mixer so we decided to go down that line, using the mixer to knead the dough and cooking the loaves in the oven.
For our everyday bread I mix a double batch in the mixer and knead a second batch by hand at the same time ... that makes 4 loaves all ready to go in the oven at the same time and enough bread to keep us going for a few days. It took a few goes to get the mixture right in the mixer but I got there and we are really pleased with the results.
|Dough being kneaded in the mixer|
|Ready to rise|
|The dough after rising|
Our everyday bread is a part wholemeal loaf (30% wholemeal : 70% white flour) but I am experimenting with more different loaves - foccacia is lovely (and the wetter dough is much easier to deal with in the mixer!) and the seeded dinner rolls went down very well.
|Seeded Dinner Rolls|
In England I decided I would treat myself to a new bread book. I looked at a couple of books and initially liked the look of the one by The Hairy Bikers. On closer inspection though, it seemed that many of the recipes were not actually bread but things like soup to go with bread or recipes to make with the bread once cooked. I opted in the end for "Brilliant Bread" by James Morton although as yet I have not had the time to try any recipes. As I also bought some rye flour when in the UK, a rye loaf may be my next new bread.
Do you make bread? Have you any good recipes or tips you would like to share .... oh and if you can get a loaf with a really crusty top please do tell me how as I have perfected soft loaves but can never seem to get a crusty top! And should I be making bread for gite guests? Would you pay for a fresh loaf and if so how much? Please to share your views, tips and recipes in the comments below. Merci.