Give us this day our daily bread.
No, don’t worry, we haven’t decided to turn our food blogs into religious ones, although there is something quite religious about the topic of this week’s musings.
Yes, we are referring to bread, but definitely not the industrial loaf products which contain a cocktail of additives.
Additives Chef Chris, what do you mean by additives?
Well, dear reader, brace yourself because the chances are that if you buy mass produced bread, it contains a lot more than the basic four ingredients which are needed, namely flour, yeast, water and salt.
Like fat, sugar, emulsifiers and preservatives, to name just a few.
These have all been added over the years to make bread last longer.
And then we need to discuss The Chorleywood Bread Process (CBP). This produces bread of in high quantities and low cost. You won’t see it mentioned on any labels but you can’t miss it. Think of the rolls you get from your favourite burger takeaway which have a soft, squishy texture that lasts for many days until the preservatives can hold back the mould no longer, although if you watch Super Size Me, they last a lot longer than that!
If the same bread forms a ball that sticks to the roof of your mouth as you chew, you have CBP to thank for that – just think what it will be doing in your stomach though!
Anyway, enough of this unpleasantness, as we’re here to talk about real bread, given it’s Real Bread Week.
That’s bread made as God intended (last religious reference we promise); bread which is additive free and made by local independent bakeries, which is one of the reasons behind Real Bread Week.
Making bread is actually quite easy and you don’t need to have one of those bread makers which were all the fashion a while ago.
Real bread is anything which uses natural ingredients like salt, baker’s yeast, seeds, nuts, cheese, milk, malt extract, herbs, oils, fats and dried fruits – as long as they themselves contain no artificial additives.
So that means you can make bread from around the world whether it’s a crusty bap, pita, paratha or a bagel.
Tomato fondue and mozzarella topped chilli cheese bread
Chilli Cheese bread:
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 10g yeast
- 6g salt
- 300g warm water
- 10g sugar
- 4 red chillies finely diced
- 125g grated mature cheddar cheese
In a kitchen mixer with the dough hook attached mix all the ingredients together to from a smooth elastic dough. Transfer to a bowl and leave somewhere warm covered with damp cloth to double in volume.
Preheat oven to 200oc and once the dough is doubled in volume empty out on to a floured bench and knead the dough for 2 minutes. Place in a square rubber mould pressing the dough down to the edges. Bake for 25-30minutes until the top is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
- 1 tin of San Marzano plum tomatoes roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 red onion finely diced
- 70mls virgin olive oil
- A glass of white wine
- 2 balls of buffalo mozzarella sliced
In a heavy based oven proof pan heat on a medium heat and fry the onions and garlic till soft and caramelised, then add the wine, tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Place the pan in the oven at 180oc and cook for 1 hour taking out to stir occasionally. After a 1 hour take out the oven the fondue should be thick and very rich if not cook for a further 25 minutes.
Taste and check for seasoning. Leave too cool slightly.
To finish slice the bread and place in the oven for 10 minutes take out and rub with a clove of garlic then top with tomato fondue cover in the mozzarella and bake till the cheese is bubbling and melted.