Sunday, 24 March 2013

This is not Hovis

Hovis is certainly part of  UK bread history; for me I came across it in the 1950s. A distinctive tin loaf with the word Hovis in low relief on the side, it tasted different to any other brown bread that you could find. It was only in the 1970s, when I began baking my own bread more earnestly that I discovered the distinctive flavour of Hovis comes from the use of wheatgerm.
This bread is a not Hovis, which I imagine is still made from a secret recipe, but the addition of wheatgerm and molasses makes a very delicious loaf and baking the loaves in tins despite the absence of the word Hovis on the side makes a loaf which is great for sandwiches.

For this recipe you will need:

For the ferment,
100g of starter from the fridge
150g of strong white flour
50g of rye flour
200g of water.

For the main dough,
All of the ferment
500g of strong white flour
500g of strong wholewheat flour
100g of wheatgerm
1 tablespoon of molasses
600g of water
22g of salt

Begin by making up the ferment. Mix all the ferment ingredients and set aside for 24 hours in a 2 pint pudding basin. It's march and my house in East Anglia is still cold so it takes at least 24 hours for the ferment to show vigorous signs of growth. It may take less time where you live depending on the ambient temperature, just keep an eye on things and only add the ferment to the remaining main dough ingredients when it is producing lots of bubbles which break and reform quickly.
Mix up the remaining main dough ingredients, apart from the salt and continue to mix to develop the gluten for 2 to 3 minutes (I do this in my Kenwood mixer) The gluten is going to develop over the next 8 hours or so without any extra effort from you, but I find a little extra in the beginning, helps. Leave the dough to rise slowly for 8 hours, again depending on the ambient temperature. Add the salt and mix in thoroughly. Transfer the dough to a stout polythene bowl or box and leave for 3 to 4 hours, stretching and folding the dough each hour. You should find the dough tightening up a little more and becoming more inflated with each hour. I take care to de-gas as little as possible, losing a little of the air that has been created is inevitable but it's not a problem. Divide the dough and shape into loaves, with this quantity I made 3 loaves, 2 in tins, the 3rd in a cane banetton. Leave the dough for 2 to 3 hours before baking in a hot 220C oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
Perfect Soldiers

Flowers from Jan

I make the dough for this type of bread a little firmer, using less water so that it produces a more even crumb which I think suits tin loaves.
The addition of the wheatgerm and a small amount of molasses gives this bread an exceptional flavour.


  1. A beautiful bunch of flowers, a simply stunning boiled egg (perfectly cooked) and this gorgeous is looking up! :)

  2. Dear Vicar, I took a guess at the water based on your other recipes, but interested to know how much you use, of course it might be there, & I can't see for looking! :)

    1. Hello and thank you for your comment, you are right of course I have omitted the quantity of water, corrected now I am pleased to say. I should point out I am no vicar but some of my best friends are. best wishes and happy baking Tôbi

    2. Many thanks Tobi, & that's exactly what I put in! cheers julie


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