Bakestone bread – Bara Llechwan
Watch this bread rising while cooking it on a hob, it’s a marvel! Yes indeed, you do not need an oven to bake it, although it looks risen about at least 5 cm height. Magic!
Bakestone bread is soft from the inside with a slightly burnt crust; I kept it for 3 days and it was still moist and chewy.
Bara Llechwan is a bread which is baked on hot stones in a large oven or a bakestone (something like this, here). Alternatively, you can use a good heavy frying pan for the job. I use the griddle shown here, while making the welsh cakes (the recipe comes in french).
Few recommendations before we get to the recipe:
– According to the book Welsh Heritage: food & Culture, you just need ordinary plain flour and a strong bread flour.
– If you have a bread machine (I’m lazy, I have one to do the nasty job of kneading for me), use a short programme “dough”.In this case, start by adding water, salt and milk, then the flour, then the yeast. The butter should be added about 10 min after the starting time.
For 1 bread
Prep: 20 min – cooking: 45 min
- 500g of flour
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1 ½ tsp of dried yeast
- 150 ml of milk
- 150 ml of water
- 1 tbsp of butter into small pieces
- 1 tsp of oil
- Handful of currant (for a version with currant)
Like any other bread with yeast, make a well in the flour, add the salt. Heat the liquids (milk and water) to lukewarm. Take 1/3 of the liquid and stir in the sugar and the yeast and let sit for 5 to 10 min.
Add most of the liquid to the flour and start kneading. You will add the rest after the previous amount has been absorbed. Add the butter and keep kneading on a floured surface until smooth, firm and elastic.
Massage the dough with oil and place it in a large bowl, greased with oil as well. Cling film it and let rise for 1 1/2h or until it doubles its size.
Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface, knead gently (or fold it on itself 3 times after flattening it gently).
Form a rough circle measuring 20 cm or so in diameter, 2 cm thick. Use your hands or the rolling pin or both.
Let the dough sit for 20 min to relax it. In the meantime, heat the heavy frying pan over medium heat.
Place the dough into the pan and cook gently for 20 min on each side. It might sink for a while but it should rise again.
Let cool on a wire rack.
I toasted some slices and they turned out tasty.
Give it a Try!