#78 Doris Grant’s Loaf

I was “working from home” the other day and therefore needed to procrastinate heavily; been making a poster for the Faculty of Life Science Research Symposium and though there’d be fewer distractions at home where there’s the internet, telly and the kitchen. I thought I’d have another stab at bread recipe and the last one was very nice, but I rushed it rather. Then I remembered Doris Grant’s Loaf – I had bought some stone-ground wholemeal flour specifically for the recipe, but had totally forgotten about it. I’m trying to get fit at the moment and so trying to cut down on white carbs, so this one was right up my street, plus Griggers says that as long as you can read and measure you can make this bread as it requires no kneading. I’m not too sure about that, but it is easy and certainly a welcome change.

Add 1 ½ level tablespoons of dried yeast to 1 ½ rounded teaspoons of dark Barbados sugar (you can use honey, but I like burnt liquorice taste you get off molasses) and whisk in 1 ½ tablespoons of blood-heat water in a small bowl. Leave yeast to active and foam, which takes 20-30 minutes. I found that placing the bowl in a larger one filled with warm water sped the whole process up. While that’s happening weight out 1 ½ pounds of stone-ground wholemeal flour into a large bowl and mix in a teaspoon of salt. If (like me) you don’t have somewhere warm like an airing-cupboard, but the flour in an over at the lowest temperature possible and let it warm through. When the yeast is ready, make a well in the flour and pour in the frothy mixture and slowly pour in one pint of blood-heat water, mixing thoroughly with your hands (no need for mixers, here!). The dough should be quite sticky, though you may find you don’t need all the water. Split the mixture between a large and a small loaf tin that have been greased and allow the dough to rise for about 45 minutes (I put it back in the still-warm oven). Bake for 40 minutes at 200°C.

FYI: Doris Grant was a very popular post-war cook and suggested this recipe as an alternative to the ‘national loaf’, which I can imagine flaccid and tasteless (though probably no way near as bad as our standard supermarket loaves these days).

#78 Doris Grant’s Loaf – 8/10. On my first slice, I thought I’d messed it up as it is not a light fluffy loaf, but quite heavy and mealy like soda bread. After another slice, I was hooked, and managed to eat most it to myself! Griggers suggests slicing it thinly with smoked salmon, but I’m not really a fan, so I had butter, farmhouse Cheddar and chilli jam. Go out and make this!!