Everyone sings the praises of Doris Grant’s no-knead wholemeal loaf, and a solid, nourishing thing it is too. Admittedly, there is more than a hint of housebrick in its ancestry, and if you like your bread light and fwuffy then it might not be the loaf for you. (It does make absolutely awesome toast.)
Nobody mentions that it’s an absolute nightmare to prise out of the tin after baking. My solution is to line the tin with baking paper first. My flatmate at the time poked fun at this act of origami, and the name stuck.
- 450g wholemeal breadmaking flour (Darina Allen suggests 400g wholemeal + 50g white)
- 425mL very warm water (that’s right kids – 95% hydration!)
- 7g dried yeast (a sachet, in other words)
- 5g salt
- 8g interesting sugar (black treacle, muscovado sugar, honey, etc.)
Line your loaf tin or whatever you’re using with baking paper. You could use a 2lb loaf tin if you want, I tend to use a very small ceramic baking dish. If you’re feeling particularly confident, you could just grease it with oil or butter.
Put all water, 100g of the flour, the yeast and the sugar into a bowl, and mix. The flour will clump a little, but don’t worry. Let this sit for about half an hour: it will froth up and look like it wants to take over your kitchen, as the yeast is gorging itself on the flour and sugar, without any salt to hold it back.
Stir in the salt, and then add the remaining 350g of the flour, and mix. After a bit of work, it will come away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball. You may need a teensy splash more water to do this.
Put it, or rather tip it, as it will be quite gloopy, straight into your lined/greased tin. That’s right, no need to knead, although there’s a certain element of struggle in coaxing it into the tin. The dough should come about halfway up the sides of the tin or less. If it comes up too high, it will escape during rising (bad!) or baking (worse!) so just remove the excess dough. (Don’t throw the excess dough away, put it in a sealed container in the fridge and incorporate it into your next batch.)
Cover with a teatowel and allow it to rise, somewhere warm, for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. Maybe up to an hour. You could also do an overnighter in the fridge, for which I’d recommend a layer of lightly greased cling wrap rather than a teatowel.
Bake at 230ºC for 15 minutes, then 180ºC for another 25. Decant, unwrap, and back on the shelf for another 10 minutes. So 50 minutes, all up. The usual rap on the underside with the knuckles should yield the usual hollow drum-like sound. Note temps and times are for a fan forced oven.
Onto the cooling rack.
This will not slice properly until it’s almost stone cold, I normally fail at this point and hack off a few messy slices when it’s still a bit warm.