The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Guest spot: Mildred’s wholemeal undercover bread recipe

Mildred's breadDo you remember Mildred and Ian’s hedgehog villas? Mildred also makes bread every day. She starts the bread in the evening and makes it when she gets up in the morning. It stays crusty until tea time.

Like all good cooks she adapts her recipes. Finds the best tips and combines them to make her own individual recipe. This recipe, “is adapted in part from Andrew Whiteley’s ‘Bread Matters’ Book, with a bit of a twist from Elizabeth David’s bread book! The benefit of leaving the yeast overnight allowing for a longer ‘proof’ time means it doesn’t take as long to rise in the morning, and according to AW it is better for yeast to have a long time – rather than the modern style of bought bread, 10 minutes rising!

I bought my Pyrex bowls from Dunelms for about £3 – the shape of the loaf relies on the shape of the bowl so a big wide bowl wouldn’t produce a nice round loaf.”

Mildred’s wholemeal undercover bread recipe

The NIGHT BEFORE (anytime from 5pm to 10pm) put, in a medium basin:

  • 50g Wholemeal Bread flour (the Waitrose strong Canadian is fantastic, best flour ever!)
  • 100g White strong bread flour and
  • A good teaspoon dried yeast (I use Dove’s quick yeast, 6g) OR 5g fresh yeast in which case stir it into the water before you put the flour in).
  • Add 130g fresh water, just from the cold tap.
  • Stir it up, pop inside a bag and leave in the cool end of the kitchen overnight.

In the morning put the ‘sponge’ mixture into the mixer bowl along with:

  • 350g Strong White and
  • 100g Strong wholemeal flour
  • 6g salt
  • A small dollop of butter
  • Add enough water (good hand hot) usually 270g, I add about 200g and start the mixer up and watch for a minute adding JUST enough to make a stiff dough dollop. Just take your time, it will be obvious after a few times!
    I mix it while I grind my coffee . . . . about 3 mins maybe? Then I take it out of the mixer and knead by hand, I like that bit best! It feels like a big soft but firm ball of dough then.
  • Pop it back into the mixer bowl, place 2 tea towels over and leave in a warm place for one hour, it should have risen well. A bit longer if it is too cool. Mine sits on the closed cooker lid. It doesn’t take as long as usual because of the overnight rising part.
  • Put the oven on 200c ish (mine doesn’t have a temp, it feels very hot though). Make sure the oven shelf is low enough to fit a well risen loaf!
    Lift the dough out of the bowl and knead for half a minute quite firmly, shape into a round ball tucking the sides under, rather like a curled up hedgehog, place onto a tray with a shake of flour on, cut the top with a sharp knife 4 or 5 timers across. Then place the PYREX glass bowl over it – mine was from Dunelm (a 24cm one).
  • Leave it to rise a bit. If warm it takes only 15 mins, maybe 20 – again this depends on how warm your kitchen is, it doesn’t need to look full loaf sized yet, more like half sized.
  • Then put the tray, loaf AND bowl (over the loaf) into the oven! Set the timer for 30 mins.
  • When the time is up put oven gloves ON and a frying type spatula at the ready. Slide the tray out and with the spatula under the bowl edge and using the oven gloves lift the bowl off – IT IS VERY HOT so have a mat ready to sit it on, don’t do what I did and put it in a sink of water, it breaks!!!
  • Quickly get the loaf back into the oven, I spray a splash of water in the oven bottom to help crisp the crust but it doesn’t matter if you don’t.
  • Check it after 12 to 15 mins, depending on the oven heat it should be golden. Better a good brown that hardly done!
    Cool on a tray, I leave it all day as it stays crusty then for teatime!!

For a WHITE loaf just use the same quantities but use ALL white flour

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  1. kathyann

    The bread looks gorgeous didn’t think of leaving it over night to prove.will definately give this a go as we love home made bread and at least you know what has gone in it (NO ADDATIVES)I’ll use the same recipe to make some buns ,my youngest likes home made burgers on home made bread.its so filling and her friends had never tasted home made ,(they’re used to what i call the plastic ones)Thanks Kathyann (meg’s mum’s muffins )

  2. This looks very interesting – and rather like the New York Times bread that was an internet sensation last winter – did you ever try that? Very good, although plenty of people were sniffy about it (I suspect they weren’t using such good flour).

    Thanks for sharing

  3. Hi and thanks Fi for using the Undercover Bread Recipe, I hope people will be encouraged to try bread making, anyone who DOES make their own will tell you how rewarding it is.
    The Andrew Whiteley book is wonderful, packed with information and recipes. It really opened my eyes with regard to supermarket type bread.
    I have to say, I have felt much ‘healthier’ eating home made bread, and know I know what goes in to certain bought breads I understand why!
    I didn’t see the NY Times Bread . . . it sounds interesting, maybe I can find some info online.

  4. I have to admit that we use a breadmaker, but the results are really pretty good and the timer facility means fresh bread for breakfast.
    The loaves are bit square – but always crusty.

    I suspect our rayburn would cremate one side of the loaf and leave the other side doughy.

  5. Riscagirl

    I make my own bread now that I no longer work full time – my favourite additions are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and poppy seeds…. and I use honey instead of sugar. I don’t have any specific quantities – I just make enough each time for two smallish loaves. This seems to work better than one huge one.
    I’m certainly going to try out using the bowl over the bread in the oven to keep it in shape. I guess it also protects it from over-browning. Brilliant idea!
    Thanks loads

  6. Mildred follow this link to the New york recipe

  7. Thanks for the link, what wonderful bread! The thing is . . . . I enjoy the kneading stage! I think it is one of those things that once you find a method that works for you, you are not keen to change!

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Kathyann,

    I had never thought of proving the bread overnight! Great to have an online community with loads of ideas.

    Danny loves the thought of homemade burger buns.

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Hi Joanna,

    I haven’t heard aout the New York Times bread recipe. Luckily Keith has provided the link so I can check it out.

    Bet that you are right about the flour…

    Hi Mildred,

    I am going to ask for the Andrew Whiteley book for Christmas. Great to get a recommendation. Thanks and also thanks for the recipe!

    Hi Richard,

    Everyone that I know seems to have a bread maker. We just don’t have the space in our mini kitchen and I rather agree with Mildred, I like the process of making bread from scratch. Although, at the moment, I don’t have the time. And that says it all.

    Perhaps Santa has a surfeit of state of the art bread makers up in the snowy north?

    Hi Riscagirl,

    Great twists for bread makers. I love loads of seeds tossed in. Love the idea of honey too. Thanks.

    Hi Keith,

    Thanks for the link. Really useful as loads of people who read this post wouldn’t have heard of the NYT recipe.

    Hi Mildred,

    Thank you so much for letting me put your recipe on the Cottage Smallholder site. It was very generous of you and much appreciated.

  9. hello again!
    bread making is so much fun! it is really relaxing too, i find! we use organic wholemeal flour grown and stone-ground locally. i’ve never tried making it with bought yeast though, we have our ‘pasta madre’ as it’s called in italy, maybe sour dough or starter yeast in english? and you take a bit each time before you make the bread, and keep it ready for next time. some of these starter yeasts have been in families for hundreds of years, but you can also make them yourself.
    mmm, and crispy homemade bread with lovely homemade jam on top – hoorah!

  10. Fiona Nevile

    Hi nà,

    Lucky you having local stone ground flour! I love the idea of sourdough starter yeast passed down through the generations – so romantic and a great connection with the past.

    Thanks for dropping by.

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