How To Boost Your Bread Recipe And Make A More Lovable Loaf

Bread with seeds and malted wheat flakes

Do you like variety? You have your tried-and-tested bread recipe, but you'd like a change?

With some simple tweaks, it's possible to make a different loaf every time, even using the same recipe.

Here are some easy ways to boost your bread recipe and enhance your baking repertoire.

Surprisingly, you can make a lot of different breads using the same basic recipe.

Start here, for example, with The Formula For Great Dough

Using that formula, you can take any quantity of flour and understand how much yeast, salt and water to add to turn it into excellent bread.

And that's it. Once you know the formula, the possibilities are endless.

Change Your Flour

One way to bring some extra excitement to your bread-life is to change flours.

Recently, I tried Allinson's Country Grain Flour and really enjoyed it. Writing about that prompted Tony to recommend Matthews Cotswold Flour. Naturally, I felt it was my duty to give it a try and report back. The things I do for you, eh?!

Three types of flour from Matthews

These are the three types of flour that I chose. Incidentally, Matthews only send out bags of flour in multiples of five, to fill their delivery boxes. I bought two each of the Cotswold Crunch and the Eight Grain plus one of the Stoneground Wholemeal.

This week, I have been test driving the Cotswold Crunch.

Matthews Cotswold Crunch

It's a blend of wheat flour with malted wheat flakes, malted barley and dark rye.

Cotswold Crunch Flour

Here's how the dough looked after the initial knead:

Dough made from Cotswold Crunch flour

And here it is, later, at the proving stage:

Dough proving in a bowl

You can see that it has quite a lot of texture to it. Presumably those are the malted wheat flakes.

I was pleased with the final result:

Cotswold Crunch bread sliced

Cotswold Crunch bread sliced

Cotswold Crunch bread sliced

As with the Allinson's Country Grain, it seems to have a tendency to become dark (almost burnt!) very rapidly in the oven. Presumably this is due to the maltiness (sugar content). This has both malted wheat and malted barley, so be careful not to over cook it or the crust will become bitter.

The flavour of the bread was very similar to that of the Allinson's Country Grain. I enjoyed it very much. It made a lovely change from my usual loaf.

Add Extra Ingredients

Normally, I buy flour with economy and/or convenience in mind. 25kg sacks of simple wholemeal or white flour from Shipton Mill serve me well for all my day to day baking needs. Buying blended flours and those with added seeds and malted flakes tends to be a more expensive option. I wouldn't normally do that, except for the fact that I was interested in following up the recommendations that I had received.

So, one easy way to change up your loaf-making ways, for adding variety to your bread, is to buy different flours. Another way of achieving the same results would be to stick with your usual, economic/convenient flour source and buy different ingredients to add into the mix. You could buy seeds and malted grains etc in bulk and combine them with your 'basic' flour to create your own innovative blends.

Since I've been enjoying the maltiness of the Allinson's Country Grain and the Cotswold Crunch so much, I'm going to get myself some malted wheat flakes* and sprinkle them into my bread mixture, on occasion, to make a change from my plain, ordinary everyday loaf.
*Affiliate link, in case you want to know where to buy malted wheat flakes.

A slice of bread

Pay Attention To Proportions

Bearing in mind that the amount of flour in your recipe is considered to be '100%', and the amount of other ingredients is calculated as proportional to that, a good proportion of seeds (or other added ingredients) to use is 15-20%. So, for a dough made with 500g of flour, you could add 75-100g of 'other' ingredients, be that seeds, dried fruit, spices, nuts or...? Your imagination is the limit here!

Just be aware that adding ingredients and changing flours can alter the requirement for water, in your dough. Wholemeal flour tends to be more 'thirsty' than white flour, for example. Rye flour is very 'dry' and absorbent (perhaps use it sparingly, along with some wheat flour). Chunks of fruit or vegetables can make the dough very heavy and might make it reluctant to rise. When I made these Garden Mint and Courgette Batards I increased the amount of yeast slightly, thinking that it might help the dough to rise, with all that grated courgette on board. You'll be able to feel, as you mix, whether the dough needs a little more water. 


Trying new flours and new techniques, lately, has inspired me to up my game a bit. It's useful to have a tried and tested, go-to recipe for your daily bread but it can get a bit boring. Instead of searching around for a new recipe, why not create your own? Bread is basically just flour, water, yeast and salt in the correct proportions. Add some nuts, make a plait, sprinkle on some seeds. Having mastered the master method, you can confidently experiment and make a different loaf every time.

What's your favourite bread recipe tweak?


  1. I'm glad you were able to give Matthews' flours a try, and that you like the 'Cotswold Crunch' blend. I'll be interested to read what you think of the others you bought.

    For tweaks I often add chia seeds and linseed to a basic flour, and would agree that it can change the water requirement, making the bread a bit more reluctant to rise and consequently a bit 'heavier', although still very acceptable. I also enjoy a half-and-half rye and wholemeal, with caraway seeds. It's quite dense but keeps well. Had some for lunch today - open sandwiches spread with a bit of soured cream and then sweet herring and red onion, plus a bit of mixed salad. Rye-based bread seems well suited to that sort of faux-Scandinavian treatment.

    1. That sounds delicious, especially the idea of rye with caraway seeds.
      I will write more about the other Matthews' flours next week but I've really loved the Organic Stoneground Wholemeal loaf that I made today. It's got a great consistency: not dry at all, even though I used a fairly low hydration. And the Eight Grain is really tasty. Probably my favourite so far :o)

  2. Wonderful looking loaves. I've used Allinsons Country grain quite a few times and like it a lot. Nice for making buns too. Hovis Granary is still my preference but with them all I'm struggling to keep them nice and springy more than three days. Any tips

    1. I'm yet to try the Hovis Granary. Are you asking about keeping bread fresh? It does tend to dry out after a few days. You could freeze it if you're wanting it to last longer. You can also freshen up bread in the oven. Wet the outside and place it in a hot oven for a few minutes (very few! but depends on the size of the loaf - I'd just be guessing at times but for a bread roll, just a couple of minutes). That'll make them lovely again but they'll go even harder/staler very quickly once they cool down again (by the end of the day, say).

  3. Thanks to you Mrs P I have now tried this delicious flour. It is so good! Definitely a new (for me)favourite. A couple more loaves, and it'll be time to experiment.

  4. Don't know if you have already tried it but, Shipton Mill Swiss Dark Flour (it is white; a bit like British Leyland Old English White car paint colour)and has a flavour all its own. Worth trying.

    1. Thanks for the tip! Actually this is the second time someone has mentioned this to me this week. Must be a sign... :o)

    2. It's a distinct flavour. Very pleasant.


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