Hey you guys, okay so this weekend we’re not going to go through a Sunday Sweet but rather something a little more every day – BREAD! Bread takes time and patience to make, the latter being something I don’t have a lot of, but even I can manage the odd loaf and think once you’ve made a few you’ll love making bread too. It’s very rewarding and makes the house smell great. It’s like food and a scented candle all in one.
Right, you will need:
1lb of strong white flour
1lb of plain white flour
good, generous squeeze of honey
10g of salt
3x7g fast yeast
1 pint of warm water
The bread is actually really easy to make. This recipe can be adapted into different shapes and sizes but I just decided to make rounded loaves on a flat baking tray.
You will need your oven to be at 225 degrees but I wait until my second prove to heat it up. Just don’t forget. Grease your baking tray now too.
In order to make bread, you need to activate your dried yeast. Empty your 3 sachets of yeast into HALF of the warm water and add your honey. Don’t be afraid to add a good squeeze of honey, even bread you buy in the shops usually has some sugar. Mix and leave aside. It will smell awful and will begin to froth up.
While your yeast is working away, weigh out your dry ingredients into a bowl. I recommend you do use a bowl rather than just working the ingredients on your worktop because it’s easier to manage when you’re not used to working with dough. Mix the dry ingredients making sure the salt has been fully incorporated into the flours. Now check on your yeast, it should look something like this:
Make a well in your flour and pour in your yeast mixture. Use your hands ( a lot of people recommend tensing your hand like a claw) and mix your mixture. Once it’s beginning to look like a soft dough, you want to add the OTHER HALF of your warm water. Sometimes you’ll need more water than I’ve said, it really depends on the brand of flour and stuff so add more if you need to. The dough should be soft but sticky. It will be sticking to your hands. Don’t panic.
Once your dough has come together, move it onto a floured surface. If you don’t want to add more flour to the mixture, then spread some olive oil onto your work top, this will stop your dough from sticking and we all know a bitta olive oil can’t hurt. (I watch a lot of Jamie Oliver).
Now you need to work your dough. KNEAD it up! Don’t be afraid to stretch the dough, turn it upside down, pull it, squeeze it. You want to work it until it’s smooth and elastic like. Knead it for a good 7 minutes at least, put all your energy into it. Then, roll it into a ball, cover the top with flour and place on your baking tray.
Now it’s on your baking tray, you want to prove it for the first time. This works best in a warm place. Just before I started baking today, I cooked a roast dinner. The oven was still quite warm (BUT NOT ON) after dinner so I just left my dough in the oven with the door open. A bit of cling film will help the proving process too.
The dough will need a good..40 minutes if not an hour to prove. You need it to double in size.
You see, it’s grown into a monster! This is what you want. Now, lift your dough back to your floured or oiled surface and knock all the air out of it and begin to knead it again. Once the air has been removed, cut your dough into two equal (mine never are) pieces. Round each one into a bowl and score each 4 times on the top. Dust each with flour and place back on your baking tray.
No, it’s not ready yet – you need to prove it one more time! Remember me saying you need patience? Now is the time to PREHEAT THE OVEN. As the oven is now on, you can’t put the dough in to prove, so I like to leave it beside the oven and cover it in cling film again. Make sure you don’t tuck the cling film in, you need to give it room to grow. Half an hour should be more than enough time for this. Again, you want them to nearly double in size.
Now, they’re ready to bake! Gently put them into the oven. A lot of bakers recommend adding a baking tray with water in it at the bottom of the oven, apparently it’s the secret to a nice crust! Gently close the oven door and leave to bake for 45-60 minutes. The bottom of the loaf will be hallow when you tap it. A tiny bit of colour is fine too just be careful you don’t let the bottoms burn too much!
Hopefully, your finished product will look something like this:
Do you feel as proud as I do right now? You should let the bread cool before you eat it to ease your own digestion. Then, grab the teapot, the tea cosy, the butter and the jam and nom on in! Perfect.
Ps, sadly you shouldn’t eat them straight from the oven as they’ll hurt your tummy. Let them rest for half an hour first. Tick tock tick tock x