Hovis (as it used to taste!)
The Hovis wheatgerm loaf of today is not the same as the Hovis of 35 years ago. In this Hovis recipe I attempt to recreate the Hovis taste of my childhood.
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Makes: 1 loaf
  • 500 g (16 oz) strong white flour
  • 300 g (9½ fl oz) lukewarm water
  • 55 g (2 oz) wheatgerm
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp dark or blackstrap molasses
  • 1½ tsp dried yeast
  • 1½ tsp salt
  1. Add the molasses to the lukewarm water and stir to dissolve. Add the yeast, stir and leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.
  2. Mix the flour, salt and wheatgerm in a bowl. Add the water/molasses/yeast and the oil and mix to a soft and slightly tacky dough.
  3. Knead the dough well for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly-greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Shape the dough and place in a greased loaf tin. Place in a large plastic bag and leave in warm place for about an hour or until the loaf almost fills the tin.
  7. Bake at 190°C/375°F fan oven, 210°C/420°F conventional oven for 35 minutes.
  8. Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and allow to cool.
Hovis was originally made from white flour with the wheatgerm added back. Although it was an iconic brown bread the colour came from various secret additives. Changes in legislation over the years forced the Hovis recipe to change and it no longer tastes as it used to.

In this recipe I try to create the taste of the original Hovis loaf and my secret ingredient for colour and flavour is blackstrap molasses. You can also use dark molasses if blackstrap is not an option.

Both wheatgerm and blackstrap molasses can usually be bought from health food stores. Some major supermarket chains also stock these ingredients.