MICHAEL GALLAGHER WRITES

Grant loaf

The Grant loaf is a wholemeal loaf named after British nutritionist and food writer Doris Grant, whose recipe dates back to World War Two. She had noticed a peculiar phenomenon: wholemeal bread made in the traditional way (with lots of kneading) tastes nowhere as good as wholemeal bread that hasn't been kneaded at all. Go figure!

I first learned to make this in the early 1980s, and I've been making it ever since. If I can, I use stone-ground wholemeal (it's better for you), but even the cheapest supermarket own-brand wholemeal tastes just as good. It's a very dense, rustic loaf, and it's quite delicious.

Ingredients

4 cups strong wholemeal flour (sometimes called bread flour)

2 teaspoons salt

7 gram sachet of fast action dried yeast

100 ml boiling water, made up to 400 ml with cold water

You will also need:

a loaf tin

oil for greasing

non-stick baking paper

Method

1.

Lightly grease the inside of your loaf tin and line it with non-stick baking paper. "But I have a non-stick tin," I hear you cry! Trust me; Grant loaf lives to prove your tin wrong.

2.

Put the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the mixed water and incorporate it thoroughly using a knife. At some point you may need to use your hands.

3.

Tip the dough onto a clean surface and give it a little knead to make sure there are no pockets of dry flour remaining. Push it out into a rough rectangle, then roll it up and pop it into your lined tin.

4.

Press the dough down with the back of a spoon to level it out, and sprinkle a teaspoon of wholemeal flour over the surface. Place it in a draught-free place for an hour or so to rise - the inside of my microwave is perfect for this.

5.

Roughly an hour later, the top of your loaf should be peeking over the rim of the tin. By this point, you need to have preheated your oven to gas mark 6, 200ºC. Pop it in for 40 - 50 minutes, depending on how "fast" (hot) your oven runs. Mine's a bit slow.

6.

When it looks ready, remove the tin from the oven and allow it to sit for 5 minutes before removing and unwrapping your loaf. They say a a cooked loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the base. If in doubt, you can always return it to the oven (no tin needed) for a further 5 minutes or so.

7.

Let the loaf cool before you attempt slice it. Serve it slathered in lashings of butter.

This isn't a great keeper. By the third day, it will probably need to be toasted. I often slice what I don't use, bag it up and freeze it...though it's never as good from frozen. It makes great breadcrumbs too, which can also be frozen.

Any questions? You can use the comments form at the bottom of the page.

Did you know?

You'll find recipes at the back of all the books in the Send for Octavius Guy series:


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