Hello! Welcome to my first post!
My name is Clemmie, I’m 23 years old and I suffer from various mental health issues including depression, anxiety, anger issues and various addictions. This blog is going to give you an insight in to my battles as well as my journey through recovery and how cooking has saved me.
I have cooked for as long as I can remember but the most recent highlight in my cooking life has been Ballymaloe Cookery School, Co. Cork, Ireland which I completed in December 2015. I had just come out of 9 months intense therapy and it was my first step back in to the real world and coping on my own with day to day triggers. It is in the most beautiful location, has the most beautiful staff and teaches you how to cook beautiful food. All in all, it is BallyBeaut!!
I still have many set backs, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I still struggle with anger problems and frustrations a lot which can come out a bit like have a child’s tantrum. Instead of smashing things to pieces or taking it out on other people, I now have safer and more productive coping mechanisms, predominately cooking. One of my favourite things to make when I am having a ‘hissy fit’ is fresh bread. Here is a recipe for White Yeast Bread that I learnt at Ballymaloe which has helped me so much. The best thing about yeast bread is that you can knead it by hand or by machine. I much prefer making it by hand for all the cook-y reasons (feel the texture as it changes and becomes more elastic, the consistency of all the ingredients etc etc) but most of all you can beat the shit out of it for 15-20 minutes and it just makes it better and better!! What’s more, you have an amazing, delicious loaf of bread at the end of it. Get in there, get those hands dirty, fling flour around the kitchen, have fun with it!
Makes 2 x 450g loaves
425ml lukewarm water
20g fresh yeast
700g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
egg wash and seeds for topping
2x loaf tins 12.5cm x 20cm
Put 150ml of tepid water into a pyrex measuring jug. Crumble in the fresh yeast and leave in a warm place for about 2-3 minutes. Sieve together the flour, salt and sugar in a large, wide mixing bowl. Then rub in the butter and make a well in the centre. Pour in the yeast mixture and most of the remaining lukewarm water. Mix to a loose dough, adding the remaining water or a little extra flour as needed.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, cover and leave to relax for about 5 minutes. Then knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth, springy and elastic. Putt the dough into a large bowl and cover the op tightly with clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm moist atmosphere, but not too warm. A slow rise leads to a better loaf than a fast rise.
After abot 1 ½ – 2 hours, when the dough has more than doubled in size, knock it back lightly. Shape the bread into loaves, plaits or rolls, then transfer to a baking tray and cover with a light tea towel. Leave to rise again in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size again (about 20-30 minutes).
Preheat the oven to 230c.
The bread is ready for baking when a small dent remains if the dough is pressed lightly with the finger. Spray with a water mister and dust with flour for a rustic looking loaf and slash with a knife. Or, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds.
Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes – it should sound hollow when you tap the underside of the loaf. Leave to cool on a wire rack then tuck in with some butter and marmite or jam. DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELISH!!!