The Hippy Loaf: A Recipe & Guest Post from Blackbird Bread, Twickenham | Modern Mummy

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Hippy Loaf: A Recipe & Guest Post from Blackbird Bread, Twickenham

You all know how fond I am of supporting local businesses; I can't bear handing over my hard earned pennies to the corporate giants that have taken over our high streets in recent years. I believe that shopping locally is the way forward - not only do small, local businesses offer a much wider variety of better made products between them, they are also more likely to use local suppliers to make their products and more likely sell seasonal goods. Most importantly they also boost the local economy and bring communities together - and in times like these it is more important than ever to support them.

Blackbird Bread in Twickenham is a fine example of such a local business and I am very excited to be publishing a guest post from them today. Set up only six months ago, the whole concept of the bakery is one I adore - Mark bakes a range of delicious fresh loaves in his normal domestic oven for friends, neighbours and local markets, who pop by to collect it. Superb quality, fresh, local produce bringing people together. I love it.

I can wholeheartedly recommend them as a local baker (and their Hippy Loaf is absolutely amazing!). With my impending move out of the borough to the Surrey Hills I can truly say I am gutted that I didn't discover them sooner.


Hello, we’re Blackbird Bread and Modern Mummy UK has kindly allowed us to be her guest blogger!
We’re a family run community baking business in Twickenham, producing handmade bread and cake three times a week mainly for our estate of 200 houses.  However, through word of mouth (and a bit of word of Twitter) other people got to know about us. 

Our customers are generally people who are fed up with commercially produced bread or who like the idea of a good local loaf. We hand deliver to people who live on our estate, which people really like. Those who are out a lot or who live outside of walking distance, come and collect, (but a car delivery service is available).

Ordering is very simple. People can either phone, text or email us the day before we bake and when the order is ready, we contact them. We sometimes send a picture too for people who can’t wait!

We love what we do and have built up strong relationships with our customers. Every month we keep everyone up to date with what’s going on through our newsletter which includes our wide range of baked goods, plus any new ideas we are working on. We ask people to suggest things they’d like us to bake and include them in testing new bread. 

The most asked question we get is ‘how big is our oven?’ They are usually surprised to see we use a pretty standard, not at all fancy, domestic oven – baking everything in our own kitchen. It’s definitely possible to bake delicious loaves at home. This is one of our most popular Ioaves – have a go yourself or if you’re in the Twickenham area and want a good loaf without the work give us a call.

The Blackbird Hippy Loaf

The hippy loaf (named for its 1970s-style multi-seeded worthiness) takes a malted loaf into another direction. Filled with pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds , linseeds, malted wheat and flavoured with honey with a little oil for extra crunch in the crust, this is like a walk in the countryside on a sunny day. We’re going to make a bloomer out of this, great for sandwiches and toast! 

Ingredients (makes one medium-sized loaf)
250g malted wheat strong bread flour (eg Hovis Granary)
250g seeded strong bread flour (eg Sainsbury’s wholegrain seeded strong bread flour, Hovis have a seeded flour too*)
10-20g plain flour or strong white bread flour (for kneading)
250ml lukewarm water
7g active yeast (this is the standard amount in yeast sachets)
2tbp runny honey
1tbp vegetable oil
10g salt
Poppy seeds, a handful – this is for the topping so you can use whatever seeds you fancy, however, if you use a large seed, like whole pumpkin seeds, they are prone to burning.

*It’s easier to use a flour with the seeds added unless you have a collection of different seeds!

You will also need:
mixing bowl
roasting tray or solid baking sheet
cotton or linen teatowel
cling film
a water spray (optional)
Time: Approximately 3 hours, including bake.

What to do:
Weigh out the flour, yeast and salt and place in a mixing bowl. Add the honey and oil, stir together then add the water in small quantities, stirring all the time, until you have a slightly sticky ball of dough.

Tip the dough onto a floured clean work surface (a chopping board is fine) and knead for ten minutes. Yes, ten minutes. You can’t do this for less, as it has honey and oil which need (pardon the pun) to be incorporated plus the gluten in the flour needs to develop and stretch. It does no harm to knead for longer but less may result in a heavy doughy loaf.

After the knead, prod the dough with your fingers until almost flat.

Now stretch the dough into a ball, as follows. While holding the dough with one hand, grab the tip of the dough with your other hand and gently stretch it, try not to break it, then fold it back into the centre of the dough.

Repeat this in a clockwise fashion, each time folding the dough into itself until it looks like this ...

Flip the dough over and, using the upturned palms of your hands, shape the dough into a ball, carefully spinning the dough and sealing it underneath. You now have a bottom and a top to your loaf – the top is facing you and should be smooth and the base will look like origami!

Wipe the mixing bowl clean, place the dough inside it, bottom side down, cover the bowl in clingfilm and leave for 45mins-1 hour. Doesn’t have to be in a warm place, the clingfilm will create its own warmth for the dough to prove.

After the first prove the dough should have doubled in size. (If it hasn’t, leave for an extra 30 minutes). Remove from the bowl onto a floured work surface, flip it over and knock it back. Don’t ever punch it or anything macho. Use your fingertips as described above, prod it all over, turn it the right side up, shape into a ball again, as above, and leave on the work surface, covered in a teatowel for 5 minutes to rest.

After this resting time, flour the work surface, flip the dough over and prod it all over again, this time gently pulling at the corners of the dough to make a square.

Now, we shape the dough, these directions are for a bloomer. This bit looks fiddly, but I hope I’ve managed to make it as easy as possible! Pinch the four corners, stretch gently away from the dough one at a time, and fold them into the centre of the dough ...

until it looks like this ...

then fold the new four corners you have created in, one at a time ...

until it looks like this ...

then fold the top part of the dough over onto the bottom part of the dough. 

Flip it over and tuck the ends under the dough as neatly as possible. It should look like this.

This is the bloomer shape. Gently roll the dough a few times, sealing the seam on the base.

Spray the top of the dough with water spray (or flick water on it), sprinkle the poppy seeds onto the work surface and roll the top of the dough over the seeds.

Sprinkle a teatowel with a handful of plain or strong white bread flour and put the dough in the middle of it. Pull up both sides of the towel around the dough, fairly tightly, place against a wall and rest a heavy object tight against the edge. This will prevent the dough from spreading too wide. (A book is fine – please note we use the lovely Mary Berry’s essential Baking Bible!) 

Leave for 45 minutes to one hour. Switch the oven on to 200C.

After this time, the dough should be almost double in size. Lightly flour a roasting/baking tray, remove the dough from the towel by unrolling the towel and gently place the dough into the roasting tray. Carefully slash the dough twice, using the breadknife. Diagonal slashes are the most suitable for this loaf.

Spray the loaf with water (top and sides) and place the tray into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 200C, then reduce the temperature to 180C (you may want to turn the tray around to check it isn’t cooking on one side more than the other) and bake for a further 15-20 minutes. After this turn the loaf over and bake the base of the loaf for at least 5 minutes. Take out of the oven (carefully) if the loaf sounds hollow when tapped, then it’s done. If not, pop back in for a couple of minutes more.

The Blackbird hippy loaf!

We hope you like what we do! You can see our range of bread, plus our adventures in baking, at our blog , or follow us on Twitter @blackbirdbread.

1 comment

  1. Thanks so much for this and glad you enjoyed the loaf!


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