The Prime Minister’s Loaves

Recently, VB had the honour of being invited to a reception at Number Ten Downing Street - yes that is right - the residence of the Prime Minister of Great Britain.  Samantha Cameron hosted a reception for the winners of Red Magazine's Red Hot Women awards and Jane Mason won the Food Breakthrough award.  Not being one to pass up the chance of influencing that leader's diet for a day or even two (assuming he was in the country) three loaves of bread made their way to Samantha Cameron - complete with a Virtuous Bread shopping bag.  You can make these loaves at home!  There are no photos, in order to protect the innocent.

Savoury Rye Bread

300 g light rye flour (I used Stoate’s Flour, Cann Mills, Shaftesbury)
200 g warm water
50 g honey
3 g dry yeast (1.5 g instant yeast or 6 g fresh yeast)
6 g salt
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cumin
Cumin seeds to sprinkle on the bottom of the tin

Before you begin:

Butter a little loaf tin and sprinkle cumin seeds on the bottom of it.

To make the bread:

1.  Pour the flour in a bowl and make a well in it.

2.  Sprinkle the yeast in the well and add 100 g warm water.

Go have a cup of coffee and relax for 15 minutes while the yeast proofs.  It will form a beige sludge on the top.

Note:  if you are using fresh or instant yeast, you do not need to do this, you can just put it in with all the ingredients and proceed directly to step 3.

3.  Put in the rest of the water, the honey, salt, and ground spices and stir well to incorporate all of the ingredients evenly.  The texture should be soft and sticky – like your very favourite mud pie.  It is it stiff or hard, add a bit more water until it is mud pie like.

4.  Wet your hand (REALLY WET) and pick up the dough.  Pass it from hand to hand like clay and smooth and shape it into a little oblong to fit into the tin.

5.  Place it gently in the tin and leave it be.  Don’t squish it into the corners or smooth it down.  It will find its own level.

6.  Cover it with clingflim (a shower hat is perfect because it leaves room above the loaf) and leave it for 1.5-2 hours on the counter.  Don’t put it in the airing cupboard or anything like that.  If you would like to stick it in the fridge at this point you can and it will rise in about 8 hours.  You can do this overnight while you sleep and bake in the morning or all day if you have to go out (Imagine, the Prime Minister needing to go out!) and bake it in the evening.

7.  Pre heat oven to 200 degrees and bake the bread for 45 minutes.

8.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  This bread is best the next day and keeps for days.

Porridge Bread

200 g porridge oats (I used Fruity Date porridge from Rude Health, London)
boiling water to cover
300 g whole wheat flour (I used Stoate’s Flour, Cann Mills, Shaftesbury)
300 g white wheat flour (I used Stoate’s Flour, Cann Mills, Shaftesbury)
6 g dry yeast (3 g instant yeast/12 g fresh yeast)
12 g salt
250 g water

The day (or several hours) before you want to bake:

Cover porridge oats with boiling water and the salt.  Stir, cover with clingfilm and leave until it has completely cooled.

To make the bread:

1.  Pour the flour in a bowl and make a well in it.

2.  Sprinkle the yeast in the well and add 100 g warm water.

Go have a cup of coffee and relax for 15 minutes while the yeast proofs.  It will form a beige sludge on the top.

Note:  if you are using fresh or instant yeast, you do not need to do this, you can just put it in with all the ingredients and proceed directly to step 3.

3.  Add in all the rest of the ingredients and knead well for 10 minutes.  You may need to adjust the water (ie add more) if the dough is too dry.  It will be very sticky and that is a good thing.  Don’t be tempted to add more flour, just keep at it.

4.  Scrape all the dough up and pop it back in the bowl.  Cover with a tea towel or cling film and let it rest 1-2 hours on the counter until it has doubled in size.

5.  Grease 2 big bread tins.

6.  Flour the counter and gently pull the dough out.  Divide the dough in two and stretch each blob gently into a rectangle about 2 cm thick and as wide as your bread tins.  Fold up the rectangle as if you were folding a piece of A3 paper into thirds and then fold the whole thing over itself again (in half, long wise).  You should have a sausage for your tin.  Pop it in and do the other one.  Cover with tea towels and let rest for 45 mins – 1 hour or until they have doubled in size.  If you cannot be bothered with all the foldy stuff, just shape it as you will into a sausage and blob it into the tin.  It will be fine.

7.  Pre heat oven to 200 and bake for 45 minutes.

8.  Remove from tins and cool completely.

Scalded millet bread

200 g ground millet flour (I used millet flour from Conscious Foods, London)
boiling water
100 g ground almonds
300 g cold water
600 g white flour (I used Stoate’s Flour, Cann Mills, Shaftesbury)
6 g dry yeast (3 g instant yeast or 12 g fresh yeast)
12 g salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tsp ground cardamom
300 g dry apricots

The day before you want to bake:

1.  Cover the millet flour with boiling water – it is quite amazing how much it absorbs.  You want a thick paste.  Cover it and leave to cool completely.  Cover the almonds with 300 g cold water and cover and leave. Cover the apricots with water and leave.

To make the bread:

1.  Pour the flour in a bowl and make a well in it.

2.  Sprinkle the yeast in the well and add 100 g warm water.

Go have a cup of coffee and relax for 15 minutes while the yeast proofs.  It will form a beige sludge on the top.

Note:  if you are using fresh or instant yeast, you do not need to do this, you can just put it in with all the ingredients and proceed directly to step 3.

3.  Drain the apricots and then add them and add in all the rest of the ingredients and knead well for 10 minutes.  You may need to adjust the water (ie add more) if the dough is too dry.  It will be very sticky and that is a good thing.  Don’t be tempted to add more flour, just keep at it.

4.  Scrape all the dough up and pop it back in the bowl.  Cover with a tea towel or cling film and let it rest 1-2 hours on the counter until it has doubled in size.

5.  Grease 2 big bread tins.

6.  Flour the counter and gently pull the dough out.  Divide the dough in two and stretch each blob gently into a rectangle about 2 cm thick and as wide as your bread tins.  Fold up the rectangle as if you were folding a piece of A3 paper into thirds and then fold the whole thing over itself again (in half, long wise).  You should have a sausage for your tin.  Pop it in and do the other one.  Cover with tea towels and let rest for 45 mins – 1 hour or until they have doubled in size.  If you cannot be bothered with all the foldy stuff, just shape it as you will into a sausage and blob it into the tin.  It will be fine.

7.  Pre heat oven to 230 and put the bread in.  Drop the temperature to 180 and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from tins and cool completely.

 

4 Responses to “The Prime Minister’s Loaves”

  1. Bonnie

    05. Jul, 2018

    Would love to try these recipes. The world of grains now available is just amazing and fun to bake with. American here, so I have a few English questions:
    1 - what are porridge oats? We have steel cut oats, also called Irish breakfast oats. Am guessing these are what you are calling for above? But we also have rolled oats, which is what most Americans use to make oatmeal for breakfast, which I'm thinking y'all call porridge. Or is it some 3rd something? (Am presuming it's not instant oats as those are
    tasteless paste!)
    2. When white wheat flour is called for, are you referring to what American authors would call All Purpose flour? Or is it something like King Arthur makes, a white whole wheat flour (looks like soft yellow cream colored All purpose flour, with a fine grain but more weight than AP and made from whole grain)? Or is it a "strong" or high gluten flour like what we would call "bread flour"?
    I'm gradually getting the hang of the different international cooking terms, but some are confusing! Grains do seem to be particularly national- or cuisine-centric.

  2. webmaster

    06. Jul, 2018

    Hi Bonnie, thanks for your message. Porridge oats are just rolled oats - you can use anything you like that you use to make oatmeal. You are correct, instant is must mush. You can use all purpose but if you can find it, use bread flour - it will stand up a bit better!

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