Well, duh! Of course ingredients matter. The quality matters. It affects the nature and quality of the end result. This is always true but most acutely noticeable when the number of ingredients in a recipe amounts to a mere handful.
Take your basic loaf of bread, for instance, which has some flour, some liquid material, some raising agents, and not a lot else. The taste and texture of your bread will have rather a lot to do with the flour you use. Rocket science this ain’t (and I should know, I used to work for rocket scientists!). So, for a 100% wholewheat soda loaf, you would do very well to use a nice, coarsely milled soft wheat flour. For me that means Abbey Stoneground.
When last we spoke, it was all about the glory of the chip butty, that I-shouldn’t-but-I’m-going-to sandwich of bread, butter and chips (and if you should feel the need to go and make one right now, go ahead, as mention of the idea does seem to have that effect on people…). The only trouble I had with the whole chip butty thing was where to go next. What lies beyond the chip-in-a-sandwich? And so I thought that we should talk about getting potatoes into the very substance of what makes every sandwich. It was time to meet Mr. Potato Bread…
Bread with a little inner potato
Farinata: a savoury Italian delight
So I’ve developed a little obsession with just what is possible with gluten-free flours of late. Happily, this brought to mind a recipe I came across a few years ago in Is There A Nutmeg In The House, a collection of writings by the wonderful Elizabeth David. The recipe was for farinata, an Italian dish made with gram flour (aka chickpea flour) and really very little else (water, salt and olive oil to be precise). The first time I made it, I was a bit sceptical about so few ingredients amounting to much, but it transpired that less, in this case, was most definitely more. The result was a very tasty and versatile little number that you could eat as a snack on its own or use much as you would slices of that other great gluten-free accompaniment, polenta . Of course, it’s got a different texture to polenta and its own distinctive flavour, but it certainly makes for a worthy alternative.