Results for category "Soil Preparation"

Fresh Bread and Farewell

Our final day WWOOFing at Lynch Mill has arrived and we are saddened to be leaving this place full of lessons and lovely walks.  In the morning after our regular chicken duty, we needed to put the beds to sleep that had been laid with manure in days past.  This entailed cutting out sheets of black plastic tarpaulin to be laid over the top of them and placing bricks along the edges to avoid any slippage.  Once this task was completed on the four beds of various sizes from previous days, we moved back into the kitchen for a lesson in bread making!

First Mo outlined the basic needs for bread: yeast, flour, a bit of oil and sugar for the yeast to eat – today, honey.  She also explained why we were using strong flour, or bread flour, instead of “regular” all-purpose flour.  When kneaded, strong flour creates gluten strands to enable leavening of the bread, whereas standard flour doesn’t react in the same way.  Here are the steps we went through:

1. Place 500 grams of flour, measured out to exact weight, in a mixing bowl.

2. Place one big tablespoon of honey, or 2 normal sized ones, into a small glass.  Add hot water to halfway full and melt honey until completely dissolved.

3. Next, add 2 1/2 teaspoons of quick yeast and stir.  Foam indicates the yeast has been activated.

4. Now, make a well in center of the flour and add a pinch of salt and about 2 Tablespoons of oil.

5. Begin mixing starting from the inside of the well and working your way outwards, adding a little flour at a time and also adding warm water, as needed, to mix in all of the flour.  The dough should be only slightly sticky and the flour all well incorporated.

6. When ready, turn out the dough onto a floured board.  We moved to using wheat flour here.  Wheat flour is from a much tougher grain, which means it takes more work to form the dough and longer to knead the dough to form the gluten strands.

7. Knead the dough by pushing outwards with your palm and then folding the dough back onto itself, turning the dough a quarter turn and repeating.  Regularly flour the board, as needed.  Continue until the dough stops sticking to the board and your hands.  It should be a bit glossy and recover itself when poked or pulled, rather than breaking or separating.

8. Place dough back into the bowl and coat with a little oil.  Cover and leave to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

9. Turn dough out onto a floured board and punch out the excess air.  Here, our host made her dough into a loaf of bread to eat with lunch – yum!  We moved on to create apple cinnamon pinwheel rolls with it.  So, we sprinkled flour onto the top, as well, and then rolled flat.

10. We then each spread 3 jars of the apple cinnamon jam made in the post Making Jam While the Sun Shines over the surface of the dough, leaving an edge free of jam to seal the bread to itself, and rolled it up so that the jam swirled inside.

11. Finally, we cut the roll into pieces about an 1 1/2 or 2 inches wide and laid flat into a baking tray.  Once they rose again to almost double their size, they went into the oven to cook.  When golden brown and only very slightly cooled, they went right into our mouths for a taste test.  Jam approved!  Bread approved!  Apple cinnamon jam pinwheels, fantastic!

After our lunch of garden soup, fresh hot bread and more apple cinnamon jam pinwheels, we headed back to the polytunnel.  We spread manure and laid black plastic tarpaulin with brick placeholders onto the two side beds that were now empty of plants and weeds.

At the close of our final day at Lynch Mill, we went for the evening walk that we’ve become accustomed to over the last couple of weeks. As we headed along the cliff tops overlooking the small village of Porlock, we appreciated for one last time the rugged beauty of the English Coastline and reminisced about our experiences learning from Mo and Guy, our kind hosts. We returned to a dinner of vegetable lasange that Mo had cooked especially for our final evening’s meal and after enjoying a delicious third helping, trundled upstairs to begin preparing for the next stage of our adventure.

Loving Simplicity