Everyday loaf

FB_IMG_1493494741350This recipe is really simple. The bread is the perfect size for sandwiches and toast. I make it in batches at the weekend and freeze it as half loaves for use during the week.

This fills a 4lb loaf tin


  • 500g wholemeal flour
  • 500g white bread flour (sifted)
  • 20g salt
  • 10g bread yeast
  • 2 handfuls of sunflower seeds (optional)
  • Tablespoon of olive oil + a little extra
  • 700ml warm water


Put all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make sure you keep the salt separate from the yeast, otherwise you will kill your yeast. Carefully mix the dry ingredients together.

Add the olive oil and slowly add the water and mix together to form a dough. The dough should be quite sticky, but still workable without getting it stuck to your hands. Add more or less water depending on how your dough feels. I find it varies slightly every time.

Tip out onto your worktop and knead for 10 minutes. I don’t bother to flour or oil the worktop, as its not really necessary.

Here is a short video of how I like to kneed my dough. Stretch it out, then roll it back in and give it a 90 degree turn, before stretching it out again. This works quite well for a slightly sticky dough.

Put your dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with a plastic bag to stop it drying out. Place somewhere warm, I usually put it near our wood-burner. Leave to prove for an hour or two until the dough has roughly doubled in size.

Tip your dough back out onto your work surface and carefully deflate it by poking it with your fingers. Reshape and place it in a lightly greased loaf tin. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and leave for another hour to prove again. The loaf should expand and fill the tin.

Heat your oven to its highest temperature and boil the kettle. Place some water in a baking tray at the bottom of the oven, this will help to create a good crust on your loaf.

Put your loaf in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes before dropping the temperature to 200 degrees if the crust is looking pale, 180 degrees if the crust is noticeably browning, and 170 if it seems to be browning quickly. Cook for a further 50 mins.

Remove from the tin and leave to cool fully before cutting

Parsnip wine

Finally a use for parsnips! I can’t stand them, but this wine is amazing. Well worth the little effort needed and really cheap to make. Watch out though, its pretty strong stuff.

I have a few recipes for this one, from River Cottages ‘booze’ book and ‘drink your own garden’. Here’s how I do it.

Check out my blog on the basics of homebrewing before you start here.


  • 2 kg parsnips (cut into 5mm pieces)
  • 4.5l water
  • 1.4kg granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of citric acid (or the juice and rind of 2 lemons.
  • 1 teaspoon tannin (or a strong cup of black tea)
  • 1 teaspoon pectolase (to prevent pectin haze)
  • 1 teaspoon of wine yeast (I use Young’s super wine yeast extract)
  • 1 teaspoon Bentonite
  • 1 campden tablet
  • 1 teaspoon fermentation stopper


Boil 2.5 litres of water and add the parsnips. Boil for around 20 mins until soft, but not falling apart, otherwise the wine will never clear.

Strain the water from the parsnips into a sterile bucket, add the sugar, citric acid, tannin and pectolase and stir well.

Mix in 2 litres of cold water and finally add your yeast. Cover loosely for 3 days before straining into a demijohn with an airlock.

When fermentation ends add a crushed campden tablet and fermentation stopper, as per the instructions on the packet.

After 24 hrs clear the wine by adding bentonite as per the instructions on the packet.

Finally, siphon the wine into bottles and cork. Age for a minimum of 6 months before drinking.