Homely Whole Wheat Bread in 90 Minutes

Sometimes it surprises me how I can head into new situations with such naivety (or is it confidence? At times the two are so close together, I cannot tell)

I just returned from a road trip through Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France full of the most wonderful experiences; but the height of the trip was undoubtedly a two-day hike into the mountains of Italy’s Grand Pardiso – ten hours of scrambling upwards for 1500 meters and another day spent heading back down again.

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I love to walk, but my experience had been limited to a few hours rambling; usually carrying only a little camera or a bottle of water and a sandwich at the most. But, all of a sudden, here I was,  a little ruck-sack strapped to my back, heading off for a two-day trek into the mountains. I started walking, thinking little of how long it would take or how far I would have to go.

The first hour I was out of breath, my legs were aching and I could not imagine reaching the next turn in the path, let alone the nearest ridge. But somehow my body knew better than my mind; my breathing calmed down and each step was followed by another.

I did not count the times my mind offered the thought: ‘No, I cannot go any further’.’No, I cannot do this’. It was of little consequence, as there was always the ‘yes’ of the next step. For a while the resistance would be forgotten and my body moved on and continued walking.

We left behind our little town, the last few humans and then even the trees. The path became rougher; more and more often I was grateful for a hand to help me up to the next rock. We made our way through endless expanses of ever changing mountain side: rolling hills became jagged rock slides; shades of green were replaced by hues of grey.

In the late afternoon our refuge for the night appeared in sight. My heart sank: I could make out no more than a small orange dot high up amongst dark rocks and white sky.

We continued walking

Ibex and chamois appeared. Carefree in their natural environment. A patch of snow. Constant  through the warm, long summer.

We continued walking

A little rain

We continued walking

And then, clambering over yet another rock, suddenly and finally the orange dot transformed into the little hut that was to be our shelter for the night. Four walls, a roof, some mattresses, blankets – that was all. No water. No electricity. Amongst those vast expanses of black rocks and white glaciers, this austere little hut seemed to me the most homely of places.

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Standing out there on the top of that mountain I felt so small and insignificant and yet so full of life.

Grand Paradiso

Grand Paradiso

Yesterday was my first day back at home – a day to be spent cocooning, savoring memories and enjoying doing nothing much at all.

Waking up late, I remembered that early morning before the hike into those rugged mountains: the charming small farm; the breakfast room warmed by a bread baking oven; the slices of fresh, home-made bread. I decided there could be no better start to my day of reminiscing than with a fresh loaf of bread. As the day was to be dedicated to laziness, a complicated recipe would not do. So, I pulled out my favourite quick bread recipe from my blogging friend Liz.

This bread requires no more than a quick sifting of the dry ingredients, some water and a brief stir. Then all you need to do is to exert a little patience, whilst the bread rises and bakes. 90 minutes from start to finish to create a beautiful fresh loaf. By the way, should you find yourself with leftovers, it also makes for a good slice of toast the next days.

I enjoyed mine with some Italian ham that had travelled with me from the previous day’s lunch. Munching on my homely slice of bread I thought back to the marvelous adventures of the last weeks.

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Ingredients
(from the blog ‘My Favourite Past Time‘)
1 loaf

oil or butter (I have a non-stick loaf tin for which I use oil. For a regular tin use butter)
450g whole wheat flour (NL: volkoren tarwemeel)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp brown or muscovado (molasses) sugar
400ml warm water

Recipe

  1. Grease a 21 x 11 x 6cm (8½ x 4½ x 2½ inches) loaf tin with oil or butter and set aside in a warm place.
  2. Sift the flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the warm water.
  4. Stir from the outside to the middle for about a minute until a dough forms. It will be shaggy and sticky. It is enough to mix the dough until the flour is just incorporated.
  5. Spoon the dough into the prepared tin. Even it out a little.
  6. Cover the bread tin with oiled cling film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for 30 min or until the dough has risen about 1cm (1/2 inch) from the top of the tin. (I like to keep the dough in the oven with a dish of boiling water.)
  7. Briefly before the rising time is finished preheat the oven to 200C (400C) (of course without the dough in it.)
  8. Bake the loaf for about 35-45 min or until a skewer comes out clean and the loaf sounds hollow when it is tapped on the base. (I usually bake 35 40 min, but have baked it as long as an hour).
  9. Turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool slightly.

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38 comments
  1. Hilda said:

    What lovely bread to go along with that delicious looking ham. Bravo to you for your courage in taking on such a trek – I’m sure it was worth the effort. Lovely pictures too!

    • afracooking said:

      Thank you for the lovely compliments, HIlda. It really was an amazing experience. I can almost not believe I am saying this, but I am already looking forward to doing another trek in the future🙂

  2. This is making my mouth water. Yummm!🙂 So good! And gorgeous photos of the mountains.

    • afracooking said:

      Thank you so much – it really was the most beautiful view!

    • afracooking said:

      I do not bake often either as it usually is a lot of work, but this recipe is so easy. Actually it takes less time to throw together than going to the supermarket does🙂

      • i just purchase wholemead flour, i guess i’m gonna try this recipe this morning…

  3. Karinna said:

    Amazing! What an experience…

    • afracooking said:

      It really was incredible. During the hike I thought plenty of times “Never again!” but somehow the struggle seems forgotten and I can only imagine that feeling of freedom and peace.

  4. WP will not let me like this post (boo, glitchy WP!😦 ) … but I do like it! I like the recipe, the gorgeous images and that you had such a fab time! Wonderful❤

    • afracooking said:

      So sweet of you to say!!!

    • afracooking said:

      Hihi! Thank you, darling!

  5. There are few things in my life that can beat fresh, home-baked bread – or a good holiday. I look forward to hearing about both soon over several drinks.

    • afracooking said:

      Hello there, yes lets catch up soon and I will chew your ear off sharing all the great things I experienced! So nice of you to drop me a line🙂

  6. Liz said:

    Sometimes I wish I lived in Europe. I love the way you can drive through several countries in such a small span of time. I’d never heard of Italy’s Grand Pardiso, but I can imagine climbing up 10 hours and down again. You are as fit as a fiddle gal. I bet I would never do the same. At least you had a roof over your head. Was it cold in that little hut? You must have slept like a baby after a daunting ten-hour climb. I am so glad you thought of “our favourite bread” the moment you come home. Thanks so much for loving the recipe to the point of posting it. I feel most honoured. I wish you a fantastic week!

  7. Fresh, homemade bread that’s fast too? Sounds awesome!

    • afracooking said:

      Liz’s recipe really is amazing. I certainly had my doubt that a non-knead bread could be this good, but it has the most lovely crunchy crust and soft crumb.

    • afracooking said:

      The picture doesn’t even do it a fraction of justice. Standing up there, breathing the crisp air, hearing nothing but the wind and looking out on such a magnificant landscape was just the most amazing experience!

  8. Sophie33 said:

    Welcome back from your cool walking trip! I love to walk into the mountains too! I did & enjoyed ever since being a child: Italy, Austria, Italy & of course, my favorite land of all: Switserland! x

    • afracooking said:

      How great to discover that you love hiking, my friend. Ever so curious what your favourite trek was.

  9. Sophie33 said:

    A very tasty easy honeyed ww bread! Yum!

  10. What a great journey – I just love Switzerland, especially Wallis, and I’m totally convinced that the Gran Paradiso area is most lovely as well. Your bread sounds wonderful, too – surely great with Swiss cheese like Gruyère or Appenzeller.

    • afracooking said:

      I really need to discover more of Switzerland. On my way to Grand Paradiso I did take the time to enjoy driving all these wonderful passes ( I love to drive). Grimesl, Furka, Gotthart and then the next day the St Bernhard. What a great experience!

  11. This bread looks incredible. Now that I have the recipe, all I need is a view from the mountain top like yours!🙂

    • afracooking said:

      Seeing I have tested it in the flat lands of Holland I can guarantee it tastes just as fabulous at sealevel (or even slightly under ;-> )

  12. ciao! just divine both the bread and the hike. just the best adventure. and yes, nature’s magnificence reminds us of what we are!!
    thebestdressup

    • afracooking said:

      It took me so long to answer – sooo sorry! Thank you for your lovely words – bright and cheery as always😉

    • afracooking said:

      Sorry, it took me so long to get back to you! I always so enjoy seeing you have dropped by – it has just been a bit crazy lately!
      And uhm, I will have to admit: right now this is the ONLY bread I can make (successfully ;-> )

  13. spoon me like porridge said:

    looks like an amazing trip and a beautiful recipe. I agree that travel really opens our eyes to just how small we are and how small the world around us seems, when in reality it is much more expansive than we could begin to imagine. x x

    • afracooking said:

      Oh I agree – every time I see something new I feel so lucky that I have seen so much in my life already…and realize how little it really is that I have seen. So lovely of you to drop by!! I am a bit sporadic both at posting and browsing, but looking forward to looking up your next cooking adventures soon!

  14. Karen said:

    I been through the passes in that area by car and it makes me nervous just riding in the passenger seat. What an exciting adventure you had…you entire trip must have been wonderful. The bread sounds like a terrific way to remember your climbing experience.

    • afracooking said:

      It really was such an amazing experience – that feeling of freedom that being away from every day life is amazing

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