This week Celebrity Chef from Ready Steady Cook & Fellow Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala makes homemade bread to keep us occupied whilst in lockdown!
Bored in lockdown? Time to make your own bread!
THE Coronavirus is evil for sure and hopefully, by making your own bread at home we will have more time at home, less time in the supermarkets and less chance of catching it! For thousands of years, bread has been a staple food for many cultures prepared from a dough made of flour and water. Throughout recorded history it has been a prominent food in most parts of the world and is one of the oldest man-made foods, having been of significant importance ever since the dawn of agriculture.
Commercial bread usually contains additives to help improve texture, colour, shelf life, nutrition, and to increase the quantity. But the best bread that we have ever eaten is the bread that our grandmothers or great grandmothers used to make. Their skills and recipes go back hundreds of years, then after all those years, when we get bread so perfect, we stop making and baking and start buying what is usually inferior and cheap bread from the supermarkets! That is a real shame.
Of course, we are all in the same boat and we don’t have the time to make bread, but now we do! Colourants and aeration agents make shop-bought bread as light as a feather and often tasteless, there really is no comparison to my homemade bread. It not only tastes and looks better but has far more natural nutritional value. My role as a leading chef is to recreate some of the world’s lost recipes and traditions and one of our most lost skills is making bread. My grandmother used to make sourdough and I often recreate her recipe for our restaurant.
For the restaurant (when it’s open!) it is difficult because I have to make it every day and sourdough takes time to make and prove and so I developed some quicker natural recipes like my buttermilk free soda bread. I say buttermilk free because most recipes for sourdough contain buttermilk which you can’t find easily over here in Spain. My soda bread requires no equipment, no real expense, just good flour and milk and if you like you can add some walnuts or other nuts and some fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme leaves. You will make beautiful bread so easily that you will wonder why you didn’t always make it!
I have started doing a video online once a week, and last week I made my soda bread with my assistant Nicola who knows nothing about cooking and so it adds a bit of entertainment! You can find the video online on our website www.thelittlegeranium.com
Homemade Simple Soda Bread
This is a yeast-free bread which is quick and so easy to make and can be made from scratch, cooked and served on the table in less than an hour.
Ingredients for one large loaf:
250g good quality plain flour
250g wholemeal rustic flour
3 tablespoons of roughly chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon of thyme or rosemary leaves (or chopped fresh coriander)
1 heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda or baking powder
1 teaspoon Maldon salt
1 heaped teaspoon caster sugar
450ml cold milk
I have developed this recipe using ordinary milk alongside good flour and the result is perfect.
Mix all the flour and other dry ingredients together in a large bowl and pour the milk into a well in the centre.
Now add the chopped walnuts and the thyme leaves or other herbs.
NOW WASH YOUR HANDS FOR AT LEAST 30 SECONDS THOROUGHLY!
Now bring the flours and the milk together to form a dough with your hands.
Roll into a ball (do not over knead) and then put it out onto a tray lined with baking parchment or on a baking mat.
Slash the top of your loaf deeply with a crisscross using a sharp knife, this helps cook it quicker but also adds aesthetics to the loaf.
Leave to rest in the ambient kitchen for 10 minutes and then bake at 200 degrees Celcius at the top of your oven for 30 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 150c and cook for another 10 minutes
Remove and rest on a cooling rack, then slice and serve it warm with good quality butter!
As the recipe originates from Ireland try it with salted Irish butter, it is absolutely delicious!
Follow Steven on Instagram ….saunderschef or FB Steven Saunders Chef
The Little Geranium, Winner of Best Contemporary International Restaurant Spain, 2020 & Best Luxury Restaurant Marbella 2020