I know it seems insane to love food as much as I do and have reached the age of 28 without baking fresh bread.
So, by fresh bread, I mean, really fresh, like, not even from a packet mix kind of fresh. And I made it easy for myself by starting with just basic white bread in a free form loaf – which is basically just letting it rise into whatever shape it fancies!
I’ve added below my recipe and method, as well as a few pictures which will hopefully help you try this at home also. Side note – it was mega tasty with butter melted and some crispy bacon too! *drool face*
- 1 tbsp fast action yeast
- 1 tsp white caster sugar
- 285ml warm water
- 1 tsp salt
- 500g plain flour
- Olive oil for greasing
- Extra flour for dusting
Firstly, we’re sorting the yeast out. So, add the yeast, sugar and water together and set it aside. It should start to foam or bubble which means that the yeast is good to use. If it doesn’t, your yeast is dead (I know, is sounds rather dramatic for baking!) but you will need to get more and start again.
Then separately, we’re sifting flour into a mixing bowl and stirring in the salt to make sure it is even distributed. From here, we simply add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix it all together to form a dough. I know it’s common sense but just in case; if it feels dry, add a little more water and if it’s too runny and sticky, add a bit more flour. As I discovered, bread making isn’t an exact science and there is an element of just ‘winging it’!
Now starts the hard work! Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface and move the ball of dough from the bowl to the surface. Spend a good 10-15 minutes kneeding the dough, adding more flour to the surface or your hands if needed. And once you think you’ve done enough, trust me you haven’t, so do an extra few minutes! It feels like torture but the bread will be totally worth it!
Once your dough is smooth, stretchy and not sticky, it’s time for a rest for both you and the dough! So, the dough gets put in a lightly oiled tray (the same tray you will bake it in) and covered with lightly oiled cling film. Chuck a towel over the top and then leave in a warm place such as a window sill in the sunshine. And the moment you’ve been waiting for – pop the kettle on and grab a cuppa! We’ve got a an hour to put our feet up with a good book 🙂
Now, an hour later, let’s check our dough. It should have doubled in size which means we’re ready to go in the oven. Just remove the towel and cling film fully and sprinkle a little flour on the top of the dough. The tray then goes in the oven at 200 degrees or 190 for a fan oven. It should take roughly 20 minutes but keep an eye on it and take it out once it’s risen and golden on top. If you tap the top and bottom and the loaf sounds hallow from both sides, you can be pretty confident that it’s ready to eat. Yay!
Give it a few minutes to be cool enough to touch and then slice and enjoy!
I’d love to know if you try this recipe and how it works for you. I’m going to use the dough next time to make some smaller plait rolls instead of one big loaf so watch this space.
Until next time…. Em x