Baking Bread

April challenge #3 for the Food Revolution Ambassadors: Family cooking time for Easter.

We’ve been making bread, and this little helper just loves getting her hands dirty. Basic bread is super simple and a great basis on which to build your bread-making skills. There’s so much rubbish in everyday loaves – why not just make your own satisfying loaf. Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll be knocking out stunning bread whenever you need it. Did I mention that it’s unbelievably cheap?

I’ll admit that I’d migrated to a machine for a few years (obsolete Panasonic), but now the younglings are big enough to get involved it’s just gathering dust in the cupboard.  They find it so much fun and I never fail to get a “Wow!” when the oven door opens.

So, basic bread consists of just a few core staples – the Olive Oil is optional to be honest.

Ingredients:

  • 500g Strong Bread Flour
  • 320ml Tepid Water
  • 15g Fresh Yeast (or 7g dried)
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tbsp sugar

Method:

If you’re using fresh yeast, mix it with the sugar and it will magically turn into a liquid.

Making a well in the flour

On a nice clean surface (or in a large bowl), mix your dry ingredients together, make a well in the middle and pour in the water/liquid. Bring it all together and then knead it for 5 – 10 minutes. You want to have a nice silky and elastic dough.

Winter kneading dough

Leave the dough to rest in a warm place under a damp tea towel until it has doubled in size. I put it in a lightly floured or oiled bowl and pop a disposable showercap over the top. The first prove should take about 30 minutes.

Once it’s doubled in size, ‘knock it back’ by giving it another knead or a bit of prodding for a few seconds. Shape it and pop it onto the tray you intend to bake it on.

Cover it again and leave it for its second prove which will take about an hour to double in size.

Bread dough ready for baking

Gently slide your dough into a preheated oven (180°C/350°F/gas 4) and bake it for about 20 – 30 minutes until beautifully golden. The bread should sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom. Pop it onto a rack and allow it to cool down.

Standard Loaf

Winter was particularly taken with her miniature loaf which she shared with Felix as soon as he got home from school.

Miniature loaf We’ve been baking all sorts of bread and I’m starting to feel the benefits of all the exercise!

Standard Loaf of Bread

Must dash, more dough needs my attention.

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