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  • phildunn641

My first bread commission

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

...and perhaps my only one.

A friend of Muswell Wife approached me about creating a ‘hedgerow’ loaf for a meal she was organising for her cultural ‘Wet and Wild’ group. The Wet and Wilds are a group of friends with an interest nature and in responding artistically to wild swimming excursions.

So, a hedgerow loaf… and there was another challenge, it would be great if the bread could be eaten by everyone, including those would are unable to eat wheat, rye, spelt or barley. This was a bit tricky - I’m a sourdough baker and those are pretty much what you can bake my sort of bread with. So we compromised on two loaves, but they had to be linked in some way. What on earth was a hedgerow loaf? My commissioner didn’t really know, but thought it would contain some hedgerow berries, or something of that ilk. I thought about what I had seen around - the season had pretty much passed for a lot of the edible berries, so I suggested cob nuts as I thought I could get these at our local farmers market - this was the closest I was going to get to foraging given the notice and my current lack of transport to the wild.

Cob were nuts not to be found, so I decided to push for something that was just seasonal and rustic rather than strictly (and I believe these things are strict) hedgerow. I’d call what I made and Autumn or even winter bread - it borrowed from a technique I learned from an advanced sourdough baking class at the E5 Bakehouse that involves adding porridge to the dough which I felt added to the autumnal theme as I always associate porridge with cold starts.

This is not a recipe blog, so briefly, the make-up of the sourdough loaf was: A rye leaven, white bread flour and a porridge made from organic jumbo oats, toasted hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. The great thing about the porridge is it enables you to get more water into the mix without making the dough overly wet, so you end up with manageable dough and a resultant bread with really moist crumb.

For the sister bread, I turned to Google and searched for bread with buckwheat flour. The bread I found from rhiansrecipies seemed to meet the brief and I was impressed at how much Rhian had experimented with the flours to get a balanced loaf. The version of this I baked had buckwheat, rice and tapioca flours and I modified the seed mix to match my other loaf.

Lovely positive feedback from the Wet and Wilds: The buckwheat bread was great toasted even a few days later and the sourdough… “that has been the most amazing bread.... so oily, crunchy, seedy and generally very wonderful that has been the most amazing bread.... so oily, crunchy, seedy and generally very wonderful”.

Hazelnut & pumpkin seed sourdough and its GF sister

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