Date and honey wholemeal bread

                                     date and honey wholemeal bread

Despite my previous post this bread was not made with sourdough. Anybody can do it, don’t worry! (Having said that I confess I am now in the habit of adding a dollop of sourdough to all the breads I bake. It is supposed to improve the texture.) My fascination for bread continues, following the two bread making courses I attended. I hardly ever buy bread from the supermarket these days. At a push I get it from the local artisan bakery but I have now got into the swing of baking my own. Once you get into the routine it is really quite easy. Plus I get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction out of it. I’m sure it’s much better for your health anyway (have you looked at the ingredients list of those supermarket loaves- the sliced ones sold in plastic bags, I mean? There is all sort of rubbish! How else could they last for weeks? SCARY!). I am so obsessed by bread that I have even inflicted a language activity on my students based on an article which recently appeared in the press saying that making bread can be an anthidote against stress and depression.  That’s right! There are bakeries in London which offer bread making courses to people with mental issues. How novel is that,eh? So not only bread is good to eat but it can also help to de-stress! Well, I certainly find it very relaxing. However, I have got to be straight with you.  Baking bread is not all that simple. You not only have to get the dough right but also gauge the ideal temperature for your oven and, trust me, it’s quite tricky. At the beginning of my bread making adventure I tried using a very hot oven – 240 degrees- (as suggested by the chap who ran the bread making course) but I found the bread was always a bit on the dry side for my tastes. I think I have cracked the right temperature and length of baking now. It works for me anyway. This is what I do. It seems to be working. I heat the oven to 240-250 degrees with the pizza stone inside (oh yes! I have one of those! And a pizza peel too!). When it’s reached the correct temperature I place my loaf on the pizza stone and lower it immediately to 220 degrees. Of course you can simply put the bread in a tin. I give the bread 10 minutes at this temperature (it will really rise) and then lower it to 200 degrees and bake it for another 25-30 minutes. I have now tried different types of flours (white, wholemeal, spelt, rye, multigrain, malted…). In truth they are all good. I have added seeds, nuts, dried fruit….you name it. I simply LOVE bread! This is my latest creation. I have made it in the past also adding pecan nuts but I didn’t have any in the house.


400 gr. strong wholemeal flour

100 gr. strong white flour

10 gr. salt

15 gr. butter

1 tablespoon honey

100 gr. chopped soft dates

10 gr. fresh yeast (or 5 gr. dried yeast)

310 ml. water (obviously adjust it if you see the dough is too stiff)


Mix flours with salt. Add the honey, the soft butter and the water in which you have dissolved the yeast. Knead for approx. 10 minutes (I have a kneading machine for this, I confess). Shape dough into a ball and leave in a warm place. When it’s doubled in size knock it back on a floured surface and add the chopped dates. Knead for a minute or so until well combined and put in your proving basket/tin…whatever you prefer. When it’s risen again to twice its size spray with water and slash the top. I sprinkled some mixed seeds on the top too! Bake following the instructions above.

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