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General notes on bread making

  • Stoneground organic wholemeal flour is best,as it has all the goodness of the grain in it, but it doesn’t keep verywell. The best it to buy whole grain, and grind it yourself. If youdon’t have a grinder, buy small amount of flour regularly, and checkthe best before date. White flour keeps better.
  • Make the dough as wet as possible. Learn to knead with water rather than with flour.
  • Let the dough rise as slowly as possible. This ensurethat the bread will keep longer, and will taste better
  • If possible, use spring water. In some area, mainwater contains so much chlorine that it will inhibit yeast action, andyour bread won’t rise properly. Plus you don’t want all that chlorinein your bread, do you?
  • Yeast works best around 28 degrees, so aim for thattemperature when mixing the ingredient for your dough. At lowertemperature, the bread will rise more slowly, which may be what youwant.
  • Baking times are approximate, as they depend on your oven.You will have to experiment and find out what works for you. Bread isbaked when the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when taped with theknuckles.

Clare island sourdough

One of the easiest made bread we serveon our retreats onClare Island, and one of the most popular too…

  • 150 g wholemeal rye flour
  • 150g wholemeal wheat flour
  • 150g strong white bread flour
  • 150g dow from the previous batch. This will keep in the fridge for up to 3 weeks
  • 5 g of salt
  • 1/2 liter water at body temperature
  • a teaspoon of organic olive oil (for oiling the tin)

Mix the flour together with the salt in a large bowl. Put thedough from the previous batch in a food processor with half of the waterand blend to the consistency of milk. Mix this with the flour and the restof the water, and knead  to a soft elastic dough (about 10 mn).
Putaside 150 g of dough (for the next batch) in a glass jar. The jarshould be left open until the dow in it has fully risen, then closed and kept in thefridge. 
Oil a bread tin.  Spread some flour on the worktop and roll the dough into a floury sausage, just big enough to fit in thetin.  Leave to rise in a warm place until it fills the tincompletely (about 8 hours at 20 degrees, but depends on temperature).Bake for 35 minutes in a hot over (210 C). Leave to cool fully beforeslicing.
You will need to bribe someone who is already making sourdough bread toget the original starter dow. Once you have it, it’s plain sailing.

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See also our article on Eating a yogic diet