“ Brand: Doves Farm / Type: Bread mix „
This review is about a bread mix made by the ethical producer Doves Farm.Their website can be found at www.dovesfarm.co.uk. It is available in good independent health food stores.
I bought this bread mix really just as a standby to have in the cupboard for the days when I forgot to buy fresh bread. Doves Farm make a really rustic wholemeal loaf, which I sometimes buy in Waitrose. so I thought this mix might be somewhere along these lines, with the advantage that it could be there in the cupboard to make fresh when required, as the supermarket loaf made by Doves Farm has to be eaten very quickly or it goes dry.
I purchased the mix from a favourite online website "Goodness Direct" at www.goodnessdirect.co.uk and I paid £2.79 for it. I must admit at the time I thought this was very expensive, as when I make my own bread it is actually cheaper than supermarket equivalents, but I knew this was organic and that it was probably going to be easy to make and of a high quality. I have also seen it for sale at www.naturallygoodfood.co.uk.
Last weekend I decided to make it as it had been sitting in the cupboard for a while waiting for a day when I had an emergency, but actually one never occurred, so I thought I would bake it anyway as I love the smell of fresh bread wafting through the house!
The ingredients in the mix are
Stone-ground Wholemeal Flour*, Palm Fat*, Yeast, Chick Pea Flour*, Malt Flour*, Salt, Ascorbic Acid. Produce of more than one country *denotes organically grown.
Inside the packet is a case in which you bake the loaf, so you don't even need a tin, the only thing you need is water.
To make you simply put the mix into a bowl and add water, which has to be warm for the yeast to activate. Then you knead and place in a warm bowl for an hour. After this time the dough will have risen well, and it is just a case of knocking it back, and putting it into the case provided for a further 45 minutes or so before baking for 45 minutes in the oven.
Now as I had already worked out that Doves Farm flour only costs just over £1 for 1kg of stone-ground wholemeal that this was an expensive route to a loaf, and I had high expectations for the cost.
The loaf rose well in the oven, looked rustic and it turned out of the loaf case easily, just a question of peeling away the parchment paper it was made from.
It was absolutely beautiful. Soft and easy to eat, unlike most stone-ground loaves which can be a challenge to munch, many people avoid them because they are often hard and dry.
It was outstanding on its exit from the oven with Wensleydale cheese and some chutney and a few crisps, and went down a treat with a glass of cider!
The best thing was my husband took the bread to work for 4 days afterwards in his sandwiches, and it was still soft and fresh right up to the end crust. He couldn't believe it, and neither could I since there are no preservatives in this at all. It was soft and spongy and had a lovely nutty,rustic flavour.
I had my doubts about this prior to use as I think it is over priced. Most people are not going to spend this much on a loaf; however we don't eat meat being veggies, so I often buy rustic breads and different artisan products, and I think this one has to be a future purchase for me, because it makes an outstanding loaf and dispels the myths that stone-ground wholemeal is dry and indigestible.
Dove's Farm is an ethical company which has been a family business from the start. Based on the Wiltshire/ Berkshire border they have been milling flour and making cereal products for over 30 years, and have a reputation for quality and for care of the environment. This product is one of their best, and although expensive is a high quality bread mix with outstanding results to justify the outlay once in a while.
I wouldn't buy it everyday- there are cheaper options, but I have to say this was the best stone-ground wholemeal loaf I have ever tasted and so all credit to them.