Real Bread Week
At the start of Real Bread Week, let’s begin with a question.
True or false. The smell of freshly baked bread can help to sell a house?
Well, according to a recent survey, the answer is true.
In that survey, 86% of people said the smell of a house could be the difference between putting in an offer or not, with bread (35%) being the smell most likely to seal the deal.
Frankly, whilst we love the smell of fresh bread here in the SK kitchen, we’re not entirely convinced that it alone would persuade us to buy a house. Now, if said house also had a wine cellar, swimming pool and home cinema, well, that may be different – although we’re not sure the SK salary would quite cover it!
Apparently, there is a science to it though. Scientists in Ireland say bread promotes a ‘Pavlovian’ response in almost everyone because it prompts “odour-cued memories” at a subconscious level which catapult people back to very specific points in their childhood.
They were able to detect over 540 distinct volatile compounds in a typical loaf of bread with just under 20 contributing to its aroma. The key aroma compounds create between eight and 12 notes which create the familiar smell of bread.
Hey, every day’s an education and on that subject, here’s a recipe to educate yourself with.
Oregano, sundried tomato and goat’s cheese focaccia
Ingredients, for the bread:
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 10g salt
- 1 jar of chopped up of sun dried tomatoes
- 10g sugar
- 14g fast acting dry yeast
- 145g goat’s cheese crumbled (reserve 45g)
- 225g tepid water
- 40g oil
- 10g fresh oregano
Ingredients for the bacon and parsley butter:
- 170g olive oil
- 100g of small diced bacon bits
- 250g unsalted butter
- 10g chopped fresh parsley
Method, for the bread:
- Preheat oven to 160oc/ Gas mark 3/4
- In a kitchen mixer with the dough hook attached mix together the strong bread flour, sun dried tomatoes, salt, fresh oregano, and 100g of the goat’s cheese.
- In a separate bowl mix 40g of the water with sugar and yeast and allow to foam and react for 10 minutes. Then mix in to flour with the rest of the water and allow the mixer to knead the dough until elastic and smooth. This usually takes around 10-15 minutes on slow. Cover with a damp cloth and leave some where warm to prove and double in volume.
- Once doubled in volume, tip out on to floured bench and knead to knock back for 5 minutes then put into a silicon tray 18cm by 18cm, push out to the side and pour the oil over and press your fingertips in to the dough leaving indents in the dough.
- Sprinkle over the rest of the goat’s cheese and leave to prove again for 20 minutes. Then bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and cooked.
Method, for the bacon and parsley butter:
- Heat the oil up and cook the bacon till crispy then drain. Don’t discard the oil but keep and use the next time you make roast potatoes (the flavour is excellent!).
- Soften the butter and when the bacon is cool whip together with the parsley until combined.
Serve the bread warm with lashings of the bacon butter and enjoy.