Saturday, 15 January 2011

Making more bread

One of my new year's, well the only one really, was to do more baking. To this end our joint christmas present last year was a food processor from John Lewis (we also bought a really good Kenwood hand-mixer). I made foccacia and short-crust pastry last week, but decided to make some bread rolls this week (and I even made sure I had all of the ingredients in! Those who have read my previous posts will know what I mean). So I donned my new Cath Kitson pinny (another christmas present) and took the processor out of the cupboard.
Whilst in Scotland last October, I'd bought a bag of Orkney beremeal that came from Barony Mills in Orkney and decided to replace half of my strong white flour with this. Bere has been grown on Orkney for thousands of years, both for human and animal food. In the old days, it was called Bygg, and this is still the name given to barley in Norway. Although meal is called beremeal, the crop is usually called corn in Orkney. It has been the staff of life in Orkney - in the form of bere bannocks and home brewed ale - since time immemorial. It is a variety of barley, although it differs in both appearance and taste. The flour produced at Barony Mills is fine with an off-white appearance.
I used a simple recipe 500g of flour, 1.5 tsp (teaspoon) of salt, 1 tsp sugar, 7g dried yeast, a tablespoon of oil and 300ml of warm water. The advantage of using the processor is that you can just put all of the ingredients in in one go so that's what I did.
I gave the dough a bit of a knead when it came out of the processor (you don't have to knead it as much as it gets a bit of knead in the machine) and divided it up into 10 rolls. These were left to rise (prove), covered with a cloth on the top of the cooker. As the oven is already warming up, the heat also comes up through the vent at the back and this is just enough to assist in the proving process.

Once all nice and risen, the rolls went into a hot oven (gas mark 8) for fifteen minutes. When they came out of the oven, they were put onto a cooling tray with a tea towel on top. The towel traps the steam and make the crust of the rolls nice and soft. If you want a crusty roll, brush the rolls with hot water just before they go into the oven and don't use the tea towel when they're cooling.

The rolls that were produced were beautifully soft and were delicious when filled with pastrami and salad. It's difficult to put into words what a difference the addition of the beremeal makes to the taste of the rolls. All I can say is that they were really delicious, and would encourage you to try baking with it yourself or eat something made from it if you ever come across it.
Buon Appetito (as they say in Italy).



  1. Hi Louise

    I have been baking with Orkney Beremeal for a couple of weeks now - It's fantastic stuff.

    Here's something you might like to try. Roast some or all of the Beremeal in an oven at 200 deg C for 10-15 minutes. Giving it a bit of a turn half way through. Because there is all but no gluten in the Beremeal it does the bread no harm and it brings out the flavour. Then use it as per your recipe. (Taken from Dan Lepard).

    So good to read a post from a practical and competent baker.

    Great stuff - Thanks