Saturday, 30 March 2013

Rye, cider and oat bread

Although beer is not my favourite alcoholic beverage, I was so tempted to try this legendary P.Hollywood's ultimate ploughman's loaf with rye, ale and oats. He says this is a historic British bread with modern twist. I had to do more twisting as I replaced ale with cider. My friend Catherine twisted the recipe even further by replacing rye with granary flour and ale with apple juice. The result of her bread looked stunning. :) 
Though I couldn't taste it, I'm sure it tasted great as I trust her judgement.
Anyway, here is my "Rye, cider and oat bread" packed with flavour. I really enjoyed the nuttiness of rye, subtle sweetness of treacle and fruity flavour of cider. The crust gives a distinctive character to this bread.   
This is a perfect loaf for a ploughman's lunch of chutney, apple and celery slices, and your favourite cheese.
I enjoyed this bread with camembert cheese and chillie jam. :) 

For the loaf 
  • 350g (12oz) rye flour 
  • 150g (5½oz) strong white flour, plus extra for flouring
  • 10g (¼oz) salt
  • 10g (¼oz) instant yeast
  •  50ml (2fl oz) black treacle
  • approx 140ml (4¾fl oz) water (I used 120ml for my loaf)
  • approx 250ml (9fl oz) cider (I used 220ml for my loaf)

For the cider batter topping 
  • 150ml (5fl oz) cider
  • 100g (3½oz) rye flour
  • pinch of sugar
  • handful of jumbo oats

1.   Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Add the treacle, 100ml (3½fl oz) of the water and 150ml (5fl oz) of the cider. Using your hands, stir the ingredients together until all the flour leaves the side of the bowl. Gradually add the remaining cider and water if needed (I only added 20ml of water and 70ml of cider)- the dough should be soft and all the sides of the bowl should be clean.
2.   Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will be wet initially but will become smooth once worked. When the dough has a smooth skin put it into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean cloth and leave for two hours.

3.   For the topping, mix the cider with the rye flour and a pinch of sugar to form a thick batter.
4.   Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Spread the cider paste over the loaf and sprinkle over the jumbo oats. Place the loaf onto a baking tray lined with parchment.           Leave to prove for one and a half hours.
5.   Preheat the oven to 220C (425F / Gas 7).
6.   Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200C (400F / Gas 6) and bake for a further 10 minutes. The loaf will be golden-brown and should sound hollow when tapped on the base. Leave to cool on a wire rack.