Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten
australiaphen375.com

One Hour Home Made Strawberry Jam and Bread

Makes one large loaf and two jars of jam

This takes me back to childhood – and hopefully you too. Until I became a regular bread and jam maker I always thought they both took hours but they don’t. Strawberries contain very little pectin, the setting agent, so you need the redcurrants.

I learnt the quick bread method from that great cookery writer, Doris Grant, who I think developed it during the war to save energy. It does make a slightly denser loaf and you might have a failure or two to begin with. But keep trying till you get it right.

For the bread:
1 sachet (7g) easy-blend yeast
700g/ 1.5lbs wholemeal bread flour (preferably organic)
for a lighter loaf mix white and wholemeal – you can also add rye flour, oats, sunflower seeds for a variety of flavours and textures
Half a tspn salt
2 tbspns olive oil
1 tbspn molasses

Firstly, start the bread. Mix together the yeast and flour and set aside in a large bowl. Stir the salt, oil and molasses into 600ml/1 pint of warm water until completely dissolved. Make a well in the flour mixture and stir in the liquid.

Knead vigorously for about four minutes until the dough comes away without sticking to the sides of the bowl. Put on a lightly floured board, divide in two and shape into two large ’buns’. Cover with a clean damp teacloth and leave to rest in a warm place for about 20 minutes, until the dough rises.

Put onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and with a very sharp knife make three parallel cuts across each loaf. Put into a pre-heated oven 200C/400F for about 30 minutes. Test to see if the bread is done by tapping the underneath which should sound hollow. If not, put it back for a few more minutes.

For the jam:
225g/ half lb redcurrants
900g/2lb strawberries, washed and hulled
1.3 kg/3lb jam sugar

While the bread is cooking, start the jam. Put the redcurrants into a stainless steel pan with 125ml/4 fl oz water and simmer for 15 minutes. Push through a sieve with a wooden spoon, keeping the juice. Put the strawberries into a large pan. Add the redcurrant juice, bring to a simmer and cook for four minutes. Mash with a whisk or fork.

Having warmed the sugar in a low oven, add slowly to the strawberry mixture stirring over a gentle heat it’s all dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil for 15 minutes, stirring constantly until a spoonful of the jam sets on a cold plate. Pour into sterilised jam jars (see Michael’s Tip). Seal and label – leave a good ladle full to cool in a bowl ready to enjoy with your fresh bread.

Michael’s Tip

Jam jars can be sterilized by cleaning them thoroughly then putting them straight into the dishwasher. Otherwise, put them on kitchen paper on a baking tray in a preheated oven at 150C/ 300F for about 20 minutes.

 

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