The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hello from Cumbria in the UK

junklight's picture

Hello from Cumbria in the UK

Hi from Cumbria in the UK, I've been making bread since around April. I decided at the start of the year I needed to lose (a lot of) weight and rather than going on a diet I've just focused on measuring everything (calories, activity etc.). As I started looking at my calorie intake and how much I have to "spend" each day I started resenting the machine made rubbish I used to put into my body and started wanting good high quality non-processed food. Bread seemed a good place to start and I've discovered I have a real passion for it.

I'm quite focused on sourdoughs - I started off working from the River Cottage everyday section on sourdough and quickly got hold of the River Cottage bread handbook. I'm currently in search of the 100% stoneground wholemeal sourdough which is how I found this site. (I've gone back to white bread this week and am experimenting with very wet doughs). I've also been learning more about the science of bread making which is really helping me - I like to know why I'm doing things.

I have a bread machine which I use to make regular reliable non -experimental bread for my partner and the children (although there is always something interesting in those loaves - usually spelt or rye at the very least) but I'm focused on totally handmade bread.

I'm in inveterate experimenter. I feel a big connection with something that was said about the drummer Bill Bruford - "he doesn't play things the same way once"

I've also discovered non-yeast breads - flatbreads and crackers which I'm quite fascinated by and will be experimenting more with in future.

You can see some of my experimenting at my posterous site (along with all sorts of nonsense from my travels) and I'm sure I'll be posting pictures here. Now off to give todays, very wet, dough a fold (I work from home so great for keeping things ticking over all day)

Ruralidle's picture

Hello Junklight

Good to have you join us on TFL.  There are a quite lot of us British-based bakers around and you have a good producer of organic flour near you, just outside Penrith,  Little Salkeld Watermill.  I had a quick look at your blog and it looks like your daughter is enjoying Hawkwind, even though she doesn't have a Silver Machine :).  Oh, and the bread looks good.

Dot's picture

Just browsing the site and came across this post, resulting in a lot of nostalgia.  We have now lived in Canada for many decades but I still miss so much about Britain.  I have many memories of Little Salkeld Watermill. We lived in an old 16th century converted stone mill in Warcop, which is a small village near Penrith.  I used to buy all my flour from Little Salkeld.  I stopped making bread for many years when we came to Canada.  Due to coping with a family and having a full time job, bread making seemed to be a thing of the past.  After retiring, with the children having flown the coop and having more time to myself, I started making the occassional  wholewheat loaf but nothing was all that satisfactory. I had completely forgotten how I used to make bread and my recipes have long since disappeared.  Then a couple of years ago, I got arthritis in my wrists and can no longer knead. (I always made all my bread by hand).  I thought that was the end of my bread making again but a kind friend has just given me a stand mixer.  Unfortunately, it is quite small, only taking up to 6 cups of flour.  I have always made 2 loaves at a time to fit 2 9x5 loaf tins and they always took more than 6 cups of flour.

I have obviously got lots of questions.  To start with, does anyone have a good recipe for a basic wholewheat loaf (I will experiment with adding seeds, nuts, etc.) that can be made in my small stand mixer?  I would also like to experiment with making free form loaves.  How do I go about this?  Do I always need to use a mold to stop the dough spreading? I don't want to have to start buying new containers at my age as I spend most of my time going to thrift stores to get rid of all the accumulated stuff I have!  I'd love to start experimenting but I need to start at the beginning again.  Most people on this site appear to be experienced bakers into the science of breadmaking but all I need at this stage is to make a good loaf - starters, poolish, steam, etc. can come later and I have no room in my fridge to keep a pot of dough as in Artisan bread in 5 mins.  All comments will be much appreciated.  I should add that I now have a wonderful local source for flour.  Canadian Organic Hard Red Spring Wheat, milled locally (every bit as good as King Arthur flour I imagine!)