Thursday 15 December 2011

Buttermilk bread

Do you like my new Christmas tea towel?  It made me feel better that I didn't quite get the shaping and slashing right.  They have never been my strengths when it comes to baking bread.  Yet for all that, the bread was delicious.  It is a Buttermilk Bread that looked gorgeous and professional on Wendy's Wee bit of Cooking blog.  Well at least my tea towel looks gorgeous!

Despite this bread not being perfect and despite my intentions of trying it again, I am posting it as too many of these sort of recipes fall by the wayside and never get posted.  I am planning to make rocky road soon and wished I had posted my disaster batch earlier this year to remember what I did wrong (I probably just used homemade marshmallow - that wont be repeated).

I am also posting this bread because it tasted so amazing when warm out of the oven.  I had to exercise great self control to stop at two pieces of bread.  It was so soft and crusty with a lovely mild flavour.  Wendy compared it to sourdough but I think it had a far softer and delicate crumb than the sturdy texture of sourdough loaves that I love, yet incredibly moreish.  The knead-a-few-minutes-and-rest-five-minutes was a bit of a hassle - especially when Sylvia woke from her nap crying.  In fact I kept forgetting the time and finally set the timer for each rise.

I enjoyed having it for breakfast with peanut butter.  So it is only fitting that I send it to Krithi who has chosen Bread as the theme for the Breakfast Club in December.  I am also sending this bread to Susan of Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.

I have lots more to say but I am feeling terribly behind at the moment with Christmas looming large.  I have presents to wrap, cards to write and a blog index to update and I would really just like to go to bed.  I have some more Christmas posts to share and hope to squeeze them in between a work Christmas party, a birthday party, tree decorating, plus more baking, over the next few days.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Carols, Camels and Pate
This time two years ago: The Last Drop - cosy pub grub
This time three years ago: Lentil Loaf with Chutney
This time four years ago: Unctuous and Silky Silverbeet Gratin

Buttermilk Bread
From A Wee Bit of Cooking

200ml warm water
1 tsp dry active yeast
150 ml buttermilk
500g strong bread flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Olive oil
A little extra flour
  • Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large bowl and set aside until slightly frothy (around 10 minutes).
  • Add buttermilk and then stir in flour, salt, and sugar until it comes together into a wet dough.  Let rest for 5 mins.
  • Use your hands to smear a little olive oil onto your work surface.  I found I needed a little oil on my hands as well as on the bench.  Knead dough on oiled work surface for a couple of minutes.  Rest dough on work surface for 5 minutes.  Knead again.  Rest 5 minutes.  Knead again.  The kneading and the oiled surface should make it a lovely smooth texture.
  • Scrape out mixing bowl and place dough in it.  Cover with a (dry?) teatowel and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled in sized.  Knead the dough for a couple of minutes again and place back in the bowl and leave covered for another 30 minutes.
  • Dust a baking tray with with cornmeal (or flour if you don’t have cornmeal).  Place dough onto work surface and pull into a flattish rectangular shape.  Roll dough up lengthways and tuck the ends underneath.   (I didn't quite get the hang of this.)  Place seam side down and cover with dry tea towel.  Leave to double in size for about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat your oven to 200 C (I did 220 C) with a cake tin of water in the bottom.  The water will steam your oven to help to steam the oven..   When oven reaches the right temperature place a cake tin of hot water in the bottom of the oven.  Leave for 10 mins to let the oven get steamy.
  • Dust the risen dough with flour (I tried cornmeal and it just rolled off).  Use a serrated knife to make 3 slits across the top of the loaf.  (I didn't get the hang of this either. - I think I made mine too deep and I sprinkled more cornmeal after sprinkling even though I knew it was a bad idea.)  Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.
  • Cool on a rack for an hour or so before eating. 
On the stereo:
The Best of Christmas: James Last


  1. This sounds lovely! I keep wanting to make my own bread, it just seems such a hassle. Maybe that will be my New Years Resolution: Bake More Bread. I know if I did, it'd be worth it!

  2. I think your bread looks terrific! And so does your Christmas tea towel.

  3. Oh where's the fun at stopping at just two slices of bread Johanna? :-)
    Sounds like a lovely soft loaf.

  4. This bread looks delightful, even if it isn't 'perfect' - I'm very glad you posted it. Often the non-perfect things are still pretty perfect to those who don't know how you wanted it to turn out!

    I love the Christmas tea towel too, and ditto that monkey plate :) Very nice indeed.

  5. The bread looks really good! And nice new tea towel but I must admit the thing that caught my eye was your monkey plate! ;)

  6. Very glad you enjoyed it, Johanna! Hope you and your family have a lovely Christmas.xx

  7. It looks great, especially spread with peanut butter for breakfast - yum!

    I've recently made my own buttermilk bread and you've reminded me that I need to get round to posting it!

  8. I always have trouble with the slashing too for some reason, but it looks delicious! I can see why you had trouble not eating it all. :)

  9. Thanks Gina - hope you do make your own bread even if occasionally - it is so lovely to have it baking and satisfying to eat - best to start in winter before it gets too hot (that is when I lose my bread baking urges)

    Thanks Beth - very kind

    Thanks Brydie - two slices of good bread is a wonderful thing (I think I had already had enough for dinner not to really need to much more)

    Thanks Kari - perfection is about expectation isn't it - I just wanted mine to look as amazing as wendy's

    Thanks Lorraine - the monkey plate is from Myer - something to give to sylvia to carry around the shop to stop her picking up everything :-) Love it too!

    Thanks Wendy - lovely recipe - glad I got to try it

    Thanks C - would be interested to see how you make your buttermilk bread

    Thanks Ashley - I don't think I slash bread very often and so it never is something I can get into the swing of

  10. I have only just got round to visiting all the Breakfast club enteries and it is perfect timing as I made butter today, so have buttermilk for bread!



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