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Lockdown loaf

Lockdown loaf – an easy, quick, make at home bread recipe

When NZ went into its first Covid lockdown in March 2020, like many countries, our supermarkets were overwhelmed with demand for toilet paper, bread, and pasta.  This situation quickly rectified itself, only to be replaced by new in-demand items.  The hardest things to buy became flour, yeast, and baking powder.  What did New Zealander’s do in lockdown?  We baked bread!  And you guessed it, I did too!  I started that very first week, when I couldn’t buy fresh bread.  And even once bread became available, it was hard to kick the habit of enjoying fresh bread hot out of the oven at lunchtime.

Fresh bread baking is a tantalising aroma.  Is there anything nicer than bread hot out of the oven, smothered in butter??!!  (licking lips)  Personally, that’s all I need, and although I’m sure it’s not a very nutritious lunch, it sure does satisfy and comfort.  And perhaps it was ‘comfort’ that we were really trying to achieve?  In the face of all the uncertainty in our homes, and around the world, we needed to regress to simpler times, and find comfort in our food.  Not necessarily even in the food, but in the processes involved.  Lockdown loaf was one of our comforts.

We were all immediately plunged into having everyone in our households home in our ‘bubble’ – 24 hours a day.  Some had plenty to do, others were a little lost.  All of a sudden, we were eating all our meals at home, all together.  Baking together became a nice activity that everyone could participate in – whether that was helping bake, or simply eating the finished results.  And the bread coming out of the oven is like a dinner bell going off – everyone happily answers the call.

When covid hit in NZ, people started baking who had never baked before.  On one hand it made me so happy to see others creating and enjoying the benefits of home cooked food.  On the hand, as a ‘continual’ baker, I was more than a little miffed that I couldn’t get basic supplies to continue my habit!

Panic buying

On the day we went into lockdown, I was at a bulk food store, looking for some hard to find ingredient (for raspberry jellies)   I heard on the radio the news that we were about to enter stage 4 lockdown, and knew that we were almost out of pizza flour (Friday night tradition – homemade pizzas).  The store only had 20kg bags available.  I seriously stared at these 20kg bags for 10 minutes, umming and ahhing over whether to purchase or not.  20kg is a LOT!  I knew I didn’t need that much.  I finally decided to take the plunge, and staggered out with my oversized bag of flour.  It was my only ‘panic’ buy, and as it turned out, it was a pretty smart purchase.

I was able to gift neighbours and family flour as stocks ran out around NZ.  And we were able to continue our pizza baking tradition, and start daily bread making, without fear of running out.  Do you know last week was the first week I’ve bought flour since! (6 months later).

Back into lockdown

And guess what?  After 102 days free of community Covid transmission, yesterday 4 new cases were discovered.  We were immediately put back into level 3 lockdown.  It seemed only fitting that we would make our ‘Lockdown Loaf’, as we’ve come to call it!  Everyone was asking for it.

So I figured it was time to share it with you.  Whether you’re in lockdown or not, I’m sure this yummy bread recipe will hit the spot.  It’s a great recipe to try if you’ve never made bread before.  (And if you’ve never made bread before, you may need to buy the flour you need – it’s different to what you’d normally use).  This is one of two recipes that I’ve called new favourites as part of our 30 Day Isolation Challenge.

This video I filmed in our original lockdown in March (when it was warm), but thought it was time to share it with you all now.

I did trial many different recipes over our 6 weeks of lockdown, but this one I use a lot, because you don’t need to plan too much with it.  With a lot of bread recipes, there’s several ‘proving’ methods/times involved, so you really have to decide the night before that you’re baking bread tomorrow, and you need to get onto it early.  This one takes around 90 minutes, from start to finish.

This bread is quite dense (ie. it’s not a light and fluffy sandwich loaf).  It’s best eaten hot out of the oven slathered in butter (or your favourite topping), or toasted and dipped in hot soup.   IF you have any leftover, it makes great toast the next day.

So, get crackin’ and make a loaf, and let me know how much you enjoy it.

The ‘lockdown loaf’ recipe and notes for you

This loaf is based off Dan’s Basic White Loaf, that I found in Cuisine magazine.    (And to be fair, none of mine every quite looked like his in the picture, but yummy nevertheless.)

A couple of extra notes;

  1. Rather than using cling film (glad wrap) to cover my bowl, you’ll see I use a silicon cover.  I love these covers, they seal superbly, and mean no more cling film in landfill.  They can go in the fridge, microwave, oven, and dishwasher.  I often put a little one over a cup of coffee that I want to keep warm when I get interrupted.  If you don’t own a set of these, you should.  Click this link to check some out.
  2. I don’t put the egg wash on my loaf, because that seems like an extravagant waste of an egg.  I’m sure it doesn’t colour as nicely as with an egg, but our loaves still brown up, and in my opinion that’s just an aesthetic.
  3. I don’t turn the oven on until I have my loaf in the loaf tin.  Then I use the oven warming time to give my loaf the final rising time.  I don’t think I’ve ever been patient enough for it to rise to the top of the tin (perhaps that’s why my loafs never look like Dan’s?!!).  But they still taste good.

Have you created any ‘lockdown’ favourites?  What’s yours?

I’d love to try them out.

Bon appetit

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