Firstly, this post is for anyone who eats bread. Secondly, if you’re trying to be more vegetarian, embrace National Vegetarian Week that kicks off yesterday, and explore vegetarian-friendly foods such as The Box Bakery bread.
At the time of writing, the hashtag #LockdownBaking has over 50,000 results. No matter where you are on your baking journey – whether you can give Mary Berry a run for her money, or you cringe in horror at the thought of simply switching the oven on – read on.
According to the National Association of British and Irish Millers (NABIM), the trade association for the UK and Irish flour milling industry, bread is bought by 99.8% of British households. With the equivalent of nearly 11 million loaves being are sold each day, it is safe to say that we’re a nation of bread lovers.
I love cooking and baking, mainly cakes mind, and I have baked bread a few times in my life. But I don’t think I make bread often enough, even though I would love to. I think making bread is a labour of love. If you’re working full-time and have a busy daily schedule, you might not have patience for the kneading, rising and proving process typical to bread-making.
When I visited the BBC Good Food Show last year, one of the food stalls I came across was The Box Bakery. Their bread in a box was a novel idea which intrigued me – can you really make bread without kneading or proving? The idea is simple – pour water into a spouted box filled with bread mix, shake like heck, throw in the oven, and around an hour later, enjoy a freshly baked loaf of bread at home.
Would the bread in a box work? Would the no-prove recipe impact flavour? Who even came up with the idea of a no-prove no-knead bread mix in a box, of all things? There was only one way to find out, and so I rolled up my sleeves and in I went. I sound quite heroic there – the rolling of the sleeves implies gumption to get stuck into some hard work. It really wasn’t hard work, in fact, it was barely work at all.
I measure 300ml tepid water from my Brita filter. Tap water is fine too, and I slowly pour it into the spouted bread box, replacing the plastic stopper before shaking it like heck for a solid minute. I peel off the cardboard cover and give it another mix with a fork, to dislodge any obvious flour lumps. The mix is fairly well combined anyway, and it does seem quite uniform, but I pay special attention to the corners to coax any stray bits of flour. I give the topping a quick brush of olive oil before flinging the box into a cold oven. Yes, the oven doesn’t need to be preheated, which oddly makes me happy. (Having been up since 5am, I am a little grumpy, so take comfort from small instances when I can.) I bake for 20 minutes on 50°C then increase the temperature to 200°C for 45 minutes.
The result is a good bake boasting a golden exterior with a slight chew. My favourite is the Wholemeal Multigrain & Rye Bread Mix with sunflower seeds and linseeds, which gives the loaf an added earthy depth with cereal notes. I slice the warm loaf into thick slices and slather with lashings of butter, and it is heavenly.
I was sent the Artisan mix to review, which consisted of:
- Wheat, Oat & Sourdough mix – the lightest in texture, great with yeasty tang.
- Wholemeal Multigrain & Rye Bread Mix with sunflower seeds and linseeds – delightfully dense, open texture. All the better to really poke more butter into the nooks and crannies.
- Wheat & Rye Bread Mix – lightly sour and perhaps a little moist too. I enjoyed this cut into cubes and dipped in extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how these bread boxes would turn out, but I’m a hopeful soul and I’m pleased they were good. I am trying to eat less of the sweet stuff, and I’d much prefer munching on a small piece of buttered bread, because well, butter, which is king.
You can enjoy the bread however you like – either as part of a tapas feast (as above), grilled to make posh croutons, or my favourite, simply with a thick layer of salted butter.
Although this review contains products that are gifted, I am going to buy bread boxes from The Box Bakery. Why? It saves me time, and there’s no faff with measuring, proving and kneading. Plus, I don’t think you can ever beat a hot loaf fresh from the oven.
The Box Bakery are an award-winning business, being awarded Gold at the ‘Free From Food Awards 2020’. Their extensive range is exciting, offering cakes, artisan breads and gluten-free breads. Their bread boxy delights are also suitable for vegetarians, and they deliver nationwide. I cannot wait to explore more of their range, and highly recommend The Box Bakery for ease of use and complex flavour.
Use your loaf and bake, what are you waiting for?