I really enjoy making bread. It only needs a few ingredients: strong (bread) flour, yeast, olive oil, salt and warm water. There is something about the satisfaction when the finished loaf comes out of the oven smelling delicious and looking lovely, you know you’ve put a lot of love into making it.
I do sometimes knead by hand, but quite often as I am short of time, use the dough hook in my KitchenAid stand mixer. As it is #RealBreadWeek, I thought I would share my favourite bread recipe. I love using my bamboo proving baskets as it gives a rustic, homemade look to your bread. This quantity of dough would fill a 2lb loaf tin or you could mould it into a shape of your choice.
What you need:
500g Strong White Bread Flour
7g dried yeast
11/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
300-350ml warm water
80g omega seed mix (optional)
What to do:
Put the flour, yeast, salt and olive oil (and seeds if you are adding them, they give added texture, flavour and nutrients) into a large bowl and gradually add the warm water. You might not need it all. This is where I use my KitchenAid mixer to do the hard work for me. It will need about 5 minutes on a medium speed setting.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, then mix in the water using a blunt knife until it starts to come together to form a dough. Turn it out onto a lightly flowered surface and knead it for ten minutes. Place it back into the bowl and leave it covered in a warm place for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Tip it out onto a work surface and knock it back, giving it a further knead and this is when you either place it into your proving basket, your greased tin or make it into a shape and place it onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Cover and leave to prove again for about 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
If you are using the proving basket, carefully turn the risen dough out onto a lined baking sheet. Spritz with water as this helps give a crust. Bake for 30 minutes at 200C, or until it is nice and brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped with your hand. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting.
If you cut it while it is too hot, (yes I know it’s so tempting to nibble the end bit) it will squash as the steam hasn’t had a chance to escape. Enjoy it warm with butter or toasted.
It makes wonderful sandwiches too. I like toasted slices, buttered and with orange marmalade generously spread over and washed down with a cup of tea. Any leftover/stale bread you could use to make a super tasty orange marmalade bread and butter pudding, or you can blitz it into breadcrumbs and freeze until you need to use them in your cooking. I don’t usually have any leftovers….