Ingredients

4. Consistent crumb

4. Consistent crumb

Charcoal in bread

Charcoal

Understanding flour types

Fresh yeast

Yeast and sourdough

Flour mill

Flour

There are two basic types of flour: Stone-ground flour and roller-milled flour.

Stone-ground flour contains both the germ and the bran. Roller-milled flours have the germ and bran removed. The germ and the bran contain a lot of flavour – so if you want more flavour this is the route to go.

Beware though if you are new to baking. The bran in stone-milled flour interferes with the development of the gluten so it’s easy to end up with a flat pancake. Roller-milled flours like to rise to the sky!

Spelt

Spelt is an ancient grain which has been grown in Somerset, England since the start of the Iron Age. It is a cross between Emmer wheat and goat grass. It has a unique gluten structure which makes it easier to digest than modern wheat. It is high in protein, rich in fibre and has more minerals and vitamins too. It is a good source of slow release energy, so much so that the Roman Army called it their ‘marching grain’.

wheatsheaf

Yeast

The array of yeasts available can be very confusing.

I experimented with all of them until deciding to stick with just using fresh yeast and my sourdough. However not everyone can get fresh yeast so an alternative needs to be found.

To make it easier to understand the yeast options, I have compiled a table to give you a quick overview of what’s what:

Fresh yeast
Fresh Yeast
Moisture Content

70-80%

Keeps

2-3 weeks (refrigerated)

To activate

Add lukewarm (90°-100°F) water

Active Instant Yeast
Moisture Content

3%

Keeps

2 years

To activate

Add lukewarm (90°-100°F) water

Instant Dried Yeast
Moisture Content

3%

Keeps

2 years

To activate

Add directly to flour 

Sourdough Starter
Moisture Content

100%

Keeps

Indefinitely if maintained

To activate

Keep in fridge and feed weekly if not using; feed daily with equal quantities (c50g) of flour and water for 5 days before baking with 100 g rye flour and 80-100 ml lukewarm water

Flour mill

Charcoal

Cottage loaf with charcoal

Tasteless, good for the digestion and dramatic.
Use it on the outside of a loaf:
Mix 10 g of white rice flour with 10 g of charcoal and brush on.

Or add in the dough itself:
Add 10 g of charcoal per 500 g flour.

Charcoal in bread

Black rolls with sesame seed topping