Katrin and I have grown very depressed about the state of supermarket bread. The loaves are always too damp, prone to mould and require heavy-duty toasting. Unpleasant! Googling “easy brown bread loaf” yielded this excellent recipe—one of the simplest breads I’ve ever made, with a good crust and sturdy yet springy crumb. Perfect for sandwiches, ideally the open-faced variety: try sharp cheddar with quince chutney, or cream cheese, sliced tomatoes and caramelised onions.
(I also recently tried Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread, but this one was far and away the winner—mostly because you don’t need to futz around with preheating dutch ovens or wait 12 hours for the dough to rise.)
Very easy brown loaf
Adapted from Lindsey Bareham in The Times
1 tbsp mild vegetable oil
1 tsp honey (or brown sugar, or molasses)
10g dried yeast
425ml warm water
225g whole-wheat flour (Josephine Mill)
225g white bread flour (Eureka Mills)
1 tsp salt (Khoisan Trading Co.)
13 x 20 cm loaf tin
Generously oil the loaf tin. Stir honey into 150ml of the water, then add the yeast. Leave several minutes to grow foamy. In a big bowl, mix together flours and salt. Create a well in the middle, add the yeast water and the plain water, and quickly stir to make a sticky, wet dough. Do not knead; simply scrape into the prepared loaf tin. Allow to rise for 1 ½ - 2 hours, or until the dough has risen almost to the top of the tin. Half an hour before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 220C. Place inside the oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until the top is dark brown and the base sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack. Make sandwiches galore.