Just about every New Zealand cookbook author worth their Marlborough flaky sea salt has a recipe for a no-knead, Vogel’s-style bread. Annabel Langbein (described here by the lovely Linda Burgess as ‘New Zealand’s blonde Nigella’) calls it her ‘Busy People’s Bread’, Ruth Pretty calls it ‘Quick Wholemeal Bread’ and Masterchef’s Nadia Lim calls hers ‘No-Knead Seed Bread’.
They’re all more or less the same thing – a porridge-y mixture that you stir together in a bowl, then scrape into a well-oiled loaf tin. The dough rises in a low oven before baking and the whole thing is done in about 90 minutes. Ruth told me that as far as she was aware the original recipe came from a 1950s Home Economics textbook – though none of the recipes I’ve seen ever go so far as to acknowledge its origins. Here then is my version – with due credit to all the above – which I have worked out to suit the dimensions of my large loaf tin (which measures about 20cm x 10cm x 8cm) and my oven (you don’t need the measurements of that, trust me).
DIY Vogel’s Bread
I knew I’d cracked this when the Small Girl saw me take some of this bread out of the freezer and said, ‘is that Mr Vogel’s bread?’ It’s a brilliant trick to have up your sleeve when you realise there’s no bread for toast in the morning but you can’t face a) going to buy some or b) staying awake to nurture an ordinary loaf. It keeps fresh for at least three days and freezes well, though I do advise slicing it before freezing for ease of thawing.
600g flour – half strong white, half wholemeal, with perhaps a little rye thrown in for luck
40g – about half a cup – rolled oats
2 tsp dried yeast
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
750ml lukewarm liquid – a mixture of water and milk, or just water
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, optional (you can use other seeds too)
Put everything into a large bowl and mix well – it will be like porridge. Scrape into a very-well oiled loaf tin (of the dimensions listed above) and smooth the top.
Put into a cold oven and turn the dial to 50C. Leave for about 35 minutes, until the dough has risen to the top of the tin. Turn the heat to 200C and bake for another 40 minutes, until crusty on top and hollow when you tap it on the bottom.
Turn out to a rack to cool. In the morning, eat with lots of butter and peanut butter, or avocado, and dream of the day that you’ll be able to have it with Marmite again. If ever.