Gretchen’s bread

The Mail on Sunday - You - - Food Kirstie Special -

My mother-in-law Gretchen was born in South Africa, to an Afrikaans fa­ther (of Bavar­ian mis­sion­ary stock) and a mother whose ma­ter­nal an­ces­tors came from Devon. Be­fore she mar­ried, Gretchen lived for a while with friends in France, then came to Bri­tain, where she has stayed. Much of her time here, apart from rais­ing a fam­ily, has been spent keep­ing shop at The Lac­quer Chest on Kens­ing­ton Church Street. She also has a home in Italy, near her sis­ter’s. When my mother-in-law joins us on hol­i­day, she has been known to come armed with ev­ery­thing needed to make her de­li­cious bread. Although I am com­pet­i­tive in all things, I long ago stopped be­ing trou­bled by Gretchen’s amaz­ing cook­ing tal­ents. To at­tempt to out­cook her would be fu­tile. I now just try to learn as much as I can. There is some­thing fun­da­men­tal and joy­ous about mak­ing your own bread and feed­ing it to your fam­ily. Give it a try. This is Gretchen’s bread recipe, told largely in her own words. I have put in some sug­gested quan­ti­ties, re­ly­ing on the in­struc­tions on a packet of strong flour. Note that ev­ery­thing you are work­ing with should be at room tem­per­a­ture.

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