I’ve not always enjoyed cooking. In fact at some points in my life I have positively avoided it. One of the people who has influenced me the most in my journey with food is Granny. Granny loves food and everything that goes with creating tasty nourishing wholesome food and sharing it with friends and family.
At Granny’s everything happens in the kitchen. There’s a lot of cooking, a lot of putting the world to rights and a lot of joy. Granny has been kind enough to share with me one of her bread recipes. Granny bakes her own bread these days, as she has a wheat free diet. There is nothing more nurturing than a fresh loaf emerging from the oven. Knocks the socks of the alternatives in the shops I can tell you!
Spelt & Potato Bread
450gms peeled potato
450gms white spelt flour
1tspn instant yeast
2tbspns oil (organic rapeseed is good)
One or more of the following, according to taste:
cumin seeds, caraway seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
How to Make it
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees
Boil potatoes then drain, making sure you reserve some of the cooking liquid for later.
Return the potatoes to the pan and allow to dry, then mash well.
Meanwhile, measure 75mls of the cooking liquid into your mixing bowl, and when it’s lukewarm, add the yeast and sugar, and leave for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
Add the mashed potato to the liquid in the bowl and mix well.
Onced mixed add the remaining ingredients to the mash and mix into a dough. It will look as if there’s too much flour to begin with, but persevere.
Knead well, and eventually the dough becomes smooth & elastic (good for working off frustrations!), then place in bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until it’s doubled in size.
When nicely risen, turn onto a lightly oiled surface and gently knock back to remove the air bubbles.
Shape and place in a loaf tin which has been oiled and floured, or onto a well-oiled baking tray.
Leave to rise again, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 200degrees until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath (25mins is a good time to start testing).
Cool completely on a wire rack before wrapping, or slicing.
Granny uses her Kenwood to do the mixing and kneading, which is easier on the arms, but perhaps not quite so satisfying!
What Granny has to say about Spelt and Potato Bread
Spelt is sometimes known as Roman wheat, and comes from a different strain of cereal to the modern wheat we use in most flours, breads, pastries etc today; it’s not gluten free (so not suitable for coeliacs) but it is wheat free.
So many folk are wheat-intolerant or would like to reduce the amount of wheat in their diet because of its effect on their digestive systems. Many commercially available alternatives to wheat bread can be dry or crumbly after a very short time; the gluten in the spelt holds the structure together, and the addition of potato adds moisture and springyness to the loaf and helps it to keep much longer.
Making your own bread means you can add your own extras, such as the cumin or caraway seeds for flavour, and seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower for texture, crunch, and extra nutritional content.
You can of course make this loaf with ordinary wheat flour and potato if you wish.
Once you get started with a good basic recipe that works for you, it’s possible to experiment with all kinds of additions, sweet and savoury.