Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Mis-spelt

Today's post is dedicated to those who, like me, follow instructions on the back of packets of flour.

Earlier this week I was asked to bake a spelt loaf for one of my neighbours. I'd already baked with spelt flour before, but had been disappointed with it, as I followed the directions on the back of the packet. This moment of madness is unusual - nine times out of ten I will consult the brilliant Daniel Stevens, or Dan Leppard, but on this occasion I thought I'd try it the way the manufacturers of spelt flour recommended. Mistake. The dough didn't rise at all and, in a panic, I shoved it into the oven for a flat loaf to emerge 25 minutes later.

So, this time, I ignored the directions on the back and made one simple change. MORE YEAST! Ignore the bit where they say put 1.5 tsp of yeast into the mix. This measures out at 4g of yeast and is, simply, not enough, especially for flour with the density of spelt. Most people who would even consider to read the instructions have probably also got sachets of yeast in the shopping trolley. My advice - open one of those and tip it all in. That amounts to 7g of yeast and will easily manage to lift the dough into very satisfactory proportions, creating a lovely loaf. I know, as that's the amount of yeast I put in for my neighbour!

The other thing that I find strange on flour packet instructions is the amount of time they allow for kneading. On average they will say 4-5 minutes. This simply isn't enough. 10 minutes minimum, I'm afraid.

I can only imagine the loaves that are produced with minimal kneading and paltry amounts of yeast will serve to push customers back to buying loaves and not enjoying making their own. What a disgrace!

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