Bread and the Baby

For the past couple of weeks now the Baby has begun his introduction to solid food. I'm a Baby Led Weaning (BLW) purist (almost entirely through laziness), so always religiously wait until 26 weeks, then go bonkers reading labels and panicking about salt (which I find mildly less stressful than pureeing everything in sight and filling up the freezer with ice cube trays full of swede and carrot). It is a huge eye-opener to the world of salt. I'm not about to get on a Jamie Oliver-style soap box about what our kids consume, but why is there salt in breakfast cereal? And bread is more salty than you probably ever imagined. Once you start removing it by leaving out pure salt and 'hidden salt' in the form of stock cubes etc, you soon start to realise how salt-heavy all our diets are - everything tastes different. So I've begun religiously making the Baby his own salt-free loaf of bread, because I don't have much else on, and making bread is really quick and easy... OK, there was a hint of sarcasm there, but actually once you're in the zone and if you plan things properly you can fairly easily knock up a loaf in time to have fresh bread at lunch (assuming you're at home for a couple of hours in the morning).

My normal recipe is as follows:

0.5lb strong white bread flour
0.5lb wholemeal bread flour
1 sachet of yeast
1 tsp salt (or not if you're BLW)
0.5pt warm water

Basically combine everything, and knead for a few minutes.
Cover and leave to rise for an hour.
Knock it out and knead again for a few minutes
Put it in a loaf tin, and cover with a bag
Leave to rise for 20-30 mins
AGA people - Bake on grid shelf on bottom of roasting oven for 20 mins, stick the cold plain shelf in on the second set of runners and bake for a further 10 mins.
Normal folk - 200/400/Gas mark 6 for 35-45 mins
Leave to cool.

My two top tips are: 1. Loaf tin liners from Poundland (otherwise you need to grease the tin with butter) 2. This is probably going to land me in trouble, but the large bags that charities put through the door for you to fill are perfect for popping your loaf tins in for the second rise...especially if you're doing more than one tin at once.

You actually don't need a loaf tin: round loaves shoved on a baking tray are great. And you don't even need bread flour: supermarket basic plain flour works fine too (with thanks to Jack Monroe for that gem!). Anyone can make it, and it does taste fab!

It was BLW which first introduced me to the world of savoury muffins, and the older two still go wild for the cheddar and chorizo muffins. In fact they're one of many things I upscaled to grown-up size when I started to realise the kids' food was far better than what I was cooking for myself and Grizzly Bear!

So here's a salt-free loaf I made earlier, just for the Baby, but everyone else insisted on sharing.

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