I am not a brilliant cook by any means, I’m much more comfortable behind a camera than in front of an oven! However, there is something intrinsically satisfying about making your own bread. Maybe it’s the frustrations you can vent with all that kneading, or maybe it’s the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen once it’s cooked. I have a bread machine which is great for times when I’m too pushed to even think of trying to do one more thing, but it can’t beat a hand-made loaf (and you don’t have that annoying paddle in the middle, that ruins the aesthetics of the bread from the machine version either). Both ways however, are a hundred times better than the shop bought, mass produced rubbish that passes for bread in supermarkets. Once you’ve mastered the basic method, there are so many variations you can try, it’s totally addictive!
There are many methods for making a basic white loaf or rolls but all the ingredients you need are:
500g strong white bread flower plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
7g fast action dried yeast
Up to 350ml lukewarm water
a little sunflower oil for greasing
This is a really simple method from BBC Good Food Magazine:
Make the dough by tipping the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and making a well in the middle. Pour in most of the water and use your fingers or a wooden spoon to mix the flour and water together until combined to a slightly wet, pillowy, workable dough – add a splash more water if necessary. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 mins until smooth and elastic. This can also be done in a tabletop mixer with a dough hook. Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Knock back the dough by tipping it back onto a floured surface and pushing the air out. Mould the dough into a rugby ball shape that will fit a 900g loaf tin and place in the tin. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for 30 mins. Dust the top of the loaf with a little more flour and slash the top with a sharp knife if you want. Bake the bread for 15 mins, then reduce the heat to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and continue to bake for 30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when removed from the tin and tapped on the base. Leave the bread on a wire rack to cool completely. The loaf will stay fresh in an airtight container for 3 days or can be frozen for 1 month.
Linking to Wordless Wednesday