This bread is named for Wairahi Valley on Great Barrier Island, a magical place I’ve mentioned quite a few times on this blog, owing to the fact it is the source of many great recipes, not to mention great food in general, straight off the land and out of the sea. Whenever we stay at Wairahi there’s at least one of these loaves baked each day in the wood range. I love best to eat it when it’s still warm, with lots of butter and marmite or honey, or slabs of cheese that soften on top. But it also keeps pretty well in a bread-bin or airtight container, even in the humid Auckland summer this stuff will last better than a loaf of Vogel’s, which sometimes goes mouldy after about a day!
You can play round the quantities of things a bit with this recipe, try adding bran or different kinds of seeds and the like. I sometimes use some ground gluten flour (by Healtheries) as well, as it makes the bread nice and spongy.
450ml (approx) warm water
2 tsp honey
1 sachet or 2 tsp active yeast
3 cups flour (2 cups white, 1 cup wholemeal, or your preference)
1 tsp salt
Few handfuls seeds (sunflower, linseed, poppy, chia, pumpkin, sesame, etc)
Stir honey into the warm water and sprinkle yeast over the top. Leave it for 10-15 minutes till the yeast is frothy on top, then pour into the combined dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir well with a wooden spoon to combine. This mix is fairly wet – if it looks dry enough to form a ball, add a bit more water. Leave bowl, covered, in a warm place for 30 minutes to an hour, to rise. Tip dough into a loaf tin (I’ve found a silicon one to work really well) and bake in a reasonably hot oven (I start at 200 then lower to 160 after 30 minutes) for about 45 minutes. Every oven is different, so you might need to make it a few times before you get the baking time right.