We, like many families eat a lot of bread, most lunches consist of something-on-toast or a sandwich of some description. Due to convenience we mostly eat mass-produced, sliced bread. But sometimes we have such a treat and make bread at home!
This is a post I have been meaning to write for a while now, for a number of reasons: for my father-in-law who has asked how to make bread as he was very impressed with the bread we made at home; to share how easy making bread is; and as it is Real Bread Maker Week from 11-17 May so there is time to practice!
This batch of bread was made when we had a neighbour and her little boy visiting so I divided the dough up so when it got to the shaping part us and the three kids all had a go at squidging and molding the dough and with a bit of help we made lots of interesting shapes. I even put some chocolate spread in the middle of a couple of the round buns which was a super addition!
The recipe method I follow is from River Cottage Handbook No.3 – Bread. This is a fantastic bread book which has really helped me in my bread baking and although I don’t bake bread as much as I would like I hope to try many more recipes from this book.
Home Made Bread
- 700g strong bread flour
- 7g powdered dried yeast
- 10g fine salt
- 200ml milk
- 220ml lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp oil or butter
Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the liquid and oil or butter and mix into a soft sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface that is very lightly dusted with more strong flour.
Knead the dough until it is smooth, if you poke your finger in gently the dough should rise back and not leave too much of an indent.
Once kneaded, shape the dough into a round and place into a lightly oiled mixing bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, cling film or put in a large plastic bag. Leave to rise until doubled in size. If placed in a warm place this could be 45 minutes or can be left in the fridge over night which will slow down the fermentation and the dough will rise slower.
Next tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and deflate it by pressing all over with your fingertips. Shape the dough as you like, this recipe will make two medium loaves or about 10 rolls. Place the shaped loaves onto a baking tray and cover with cling film or a plastic bag to stop them drying out and place in a warm place for another 30-45 minutes to double in size.
While the dough is rising pre-heat the oven to its hottest setting. Place a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven and put the kettle on – once the dough is put in the oven you need to pour boiling water straight into the roasting tin, this is to produce lots of steam to aid the bread in rising.
When the dough has doubled in size place in the oven, pouring the water into the roasting tin as you do so.
After 10 minutes turn the heat down to: 200C/Gas Mark 6 if the crust is still very pale; 180C/Gas Mark 4 if the crust is noticeably browning; 170C/Gas Mark 3 if browning too quickly. Bake until the loaves are well browned and crusty and sound hollow when you tap them. As a guide – 10-20mins for rolls; 30-40mins for small loaves; 40-50mins for large loaves, if in doubt bake for a few minutes longer.
Leave to cool on a wire rack. Bread for tearing can be served warm, bread for slicing must be cooled completely.