Get Your Cob On

Graphic and web designer Robert McCrimmon shows us his favorite bread recipe. Get your cob on!

Over the past couple of years I have really gotten into making my own bread. I think I am getting pretty good at it too. Before I began to make bread I thought that it was a big deal, difficult to make, but it really isn’t. It’s just a matter of putting the ingredients together, letting the yeast do its thing, kneading it and put it in the oven. It will be better then anything you buy in the shops.

So, I am going to start you off with a basic bread recipe. With this recipe you can also make soft buns and loafs, but I’m going to start with a Cob.

Ingredients:

400 grams of all-purpose white flour
160 grams of whole wheat flour
60 grams of butter or margarine
2 teaspoons of salt
200 milliliters of warm water
175 milliliters of milk
50 grams of granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of dried instant yeast

In a large bowl (kitchenaid bowl if you have one) add the 400g of all-purpose white flour, 160g of whole wheat flour (you can just use 560g of all-purpose flour but I think the mix is nicer), 60g of butter or margarine and 2 teaspoons of salt. If you have a kitchenaid then give it a good mix with the hook attachment, if not give it a good stir with a wooden spoon.

In a measuring cup add the 200ml warm water (I boil the kettle and when its about half boiled I add the water), 175ml of milk, 50g of sugar and 1 1/2 tbs of yeast, give it all a stir. What happens here is the yeast starts to get active, and begins to eat the sugar. Leave it for a couple of minutes and you will see a foam form on top of the liquid.

At this point you add the liquid mix to the flour mix. Again if you have a kitchen aid turn it on and mix the flour adding your liquid mix a little at a time, once all added keep the mixer on for about 5 mins. If you don’t have a kitchen aid its time to get your hands dirty. Add a bit of the liquid mix at a time and work it in with your hands, keep doing this until all the liquid is gone. You will have a slightly wet doughy ball.

Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil onto a workable surface and rub it round with your hand. This is used instead of flour to stop the dough sticking to the surface, but it doesn’t change the consistency of the dough. Then you want to take your ball of wet dough and knead it onto your oiled surface for about 5/10 mins, or until you feel the dough dry and toughen up, it should be a little rubbery and bounce back after you prod it. If you don’t know the technique to kneading dough click this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmGawHsRAAk. Even if you have used a kitchen aid I still recommend to knead the dough for a couple of mins, the kitchen aid only does so much and its important to feel the elasticity of the dough.

Pop the kneaded dough back into the bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel, and just leave it for 45 mins to 1 hour. The dough should of doubled in size, knock the dough back by handling the dough and letting the air out and then knead it again for about 30 seconds. Place it on a baking tray and cover it again with the tea towel. Turn the oven on to 220 C. This time you’ll leave it for about 30 mins.

Just before putting it in the oven cut diamonds into the top about 1/4 of an inch deep and 1 inch apart, and gently rub in some flour. Place a pan of water into the bottom of the oven and put the tray on the middle shelf. Bake for 30 mins.

When you take the bread out of the oven it should sound hollow if you tap it. Place the cob on a wire rack or cutting board and let it cool. It’s great to cut a slice when its still warm and butter it, your not going to get any fresher than that!

Looking at it now, it seems like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. There is just a little waiting about while it rises. I can have the dough made and kneaded in about 10/15 mins. After a few times of doing it you get very familiar with how the dough should feel, when you get to that stage you can do it with your eyes closed.

Good luck, I highly recommend it. With this recipe you get the basics of virtually any bread recipe out there.

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About Robert McCrimmon

My background is in graphic design and multimedia. I attended Leeds College of Art and Design and had various jobs as in-house and freelance graphic designers, and I always like to get my fingers into projects whenever I can. I love to snowboard and I’m always up for trying new sports and pushing my limits, anything where there is potential death I’m usually up for.