I love bread. Sometimes I miss freshly-baked bread. Have you ever passed in front of a bakery very early in the morning? Oh, what a lovely smell! Actually I prefer bread rather than cakes. Really! (if the bread is good, bien sûr!) I definitely acquired a taste for bread when I was small.
In France, bread is not only an accompaniment to meals and served at breakfast with croissants and jam but also (was?) a good treat as kids’ afternoon snack /le goûter. My Mum used to give my siblings and I a slice of bread with a chocolate or crystallized fruit bar to eat during school breaks. I bet most of the kids now have more elaborate snacks?!
Bread is indispensable for people living in the country or doing manual jobs. My grand-father was a postman and would set off very early on his rounds and cycle no less than 40kms per day to deliver the mails to the 3 surrounding villages. At 9am he would take a break and eat some food. I remember seeing him preparing his morning snack /casse-croûte, which consisted of bread and cold smoked pork belly. He was one of these men who would never leave home without his French beret on his head and his pocket-knife on him! However, he never carried a baguette under his arm but in the side pannier of his motorized bike!
As it is difficult to keep baguettes with the humidity in Hong Kong I bake my own bread and I store it in a plastic box in the fridge. It stays fresh for at least one week. Each morning I enjoy a slice of toast with my cup of coffee.
Here is my recipe:
Wholemeal Bread with Oatmeal
- 375 g wholemeal flour
- 50 g oatmeal
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 300 ml low-fat milk
1. Preheat oven at gas mark no.6 / 230 ºC.
2. In a bowl combine the flour, oatmeal, soda and salt.
3. Make a well in the centre and slowly work in the milk to form a ball.
4. Place the dough on a floured board and knead it for 5 minutes.
5. Shape the dough into a flat round loaf and place on a greased baking sheet. Draw a cross with a sharp knife on top of the bread.
6. Bake 15 minutes at 230 ºC. Reduce the heat to gas no.5 / 200ºC and bake 30 minutes longer or until golden.
7. Wrap the bread in a cloth towel and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Note: I sometimes put pumpkin seeds and/or Goji berries in and also 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds.