We were skint and out of bread but had a cupboard full of flour, and not just strong white flour (Waitrose Leckford Estate Strong White Bread Flour) but fancy wholemeal (Bacheldre Watermill) and multi-grain. Check out Baker and Loaf to find out what flours are available in UK. We used a simplified bread recipe (which can confusingly for a beginner) be adapted into a host of fancy schmanzy breads. Here’s the recipe from ‘Bread’ by Daniel Stevens.
For two large or 3 small loaves or 12 rolls (we made 2 large loaves)
- 1kg flour (we used 500g strong plain and the rest a mix of wholemeal and multi-grain)
- 10g powdered dried yeast
- 20g fine salt
- 600ml liquid (warm) – we used lukewarm water in this case
- 2 handfuls of extras (walnuts, dried fruit etc – we didn’t add this this time around)
- A piece of old dough or sourdough starter (we didn’t add this fing)
- 1 tbsp of fat (we added this as soya margarine)
- coating of 200ml milk or water of just flour.
- First off mix the dough by combining flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl
- Add smaller extras if you are using them (we weren’t) and save larger extras for after needing
- Add the liquid and with one hand, mix to a rough dough
- If you have starter dough add it now (we didn’t but plan to have use in the future)
- Add the fat if you are including and mix it all together
- Adjust consistency, if needed, with a little more flour or water to make a soft, easily knead-able, sticky dough
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and clean your hands. Thanks to the Great British Bake Off, I’m using oil on the board rather than flour to knead, it works a treat!
- Knead the dough until it is smooth and satiny as you can make it – this takes about ten minutes. I like to think of all my enemies at this point and kneading the dough into their faces. If you have no enemies just enjoy. If using larger extras like nuts, stretch the dough out on the work surface, scatter over the ingredients, then fold, roll and knead briefly, to disperse them
- Shape the dough into a round once you have finished kneading. Then oil or flour the surface and put the dough into the wiped out mixing bowl. Put the bowl in a bin liner and leave to ferment and rise until doubled in size. This could take anything from 45 minutes and 1.5 hours – or longer
Deflate the dough by tipping it onto the work surface and pressing all over with your fingertips. Then form it into a round shape. Leave to rise again up to four times to improve the texture and flavour (we did this twice)
- Prepare for baking by switching oven to 250C or Gas mark 10 or its highest setting and put the baking tray in position and remove unwanted shelves. Put a roasting tin at the bottom if you are going to use it to put in water to create steam when the bread bakes (i think this is to make the bread crustier)
- Divide the dough into as many pieces of bread that you are making. Shape these into rounds and leave to rest, covered for 10-15 minutes
- Shape the loaves as you wish and coat the outside with chosen coating (we coated with water). Leave to prove by placing bag over until it doubles in size. We put the loaves in the tins and let them prove in there
- I stretched out the dough into a rectangular shape, with the width as long as the tin, on the dough end nearest to me, I pinned the dough onto the board then rolled up the dough tightly towards me. This creates a neat edge along the bottom. Lastly the sides were neatly tucked under
- Slash the tops with a sharp knife. Spray the loaf with water before you put it into the oven. Boil the kettle and half-fill a roasting tin with boiling water to go at the bottom of the oven. Put the bread into the oven and close the door quickly
- Turn the heat down after about 10 minutes to: 200C if the crust looks pale, 180 is browning.
- Bake until browned and crusty (the clown) – they should feel hollow when you tap them on the butt butt
- Timings: 10-20 mins for rolls; 30 – 40 mins for small loaves; 40 – 50 mins for large loaves. Ours took 35 mins.
Returning to the recipe
- Homemade bread (stefanoberuschi.wordpress.com)
- Easy Home-Made Bread, A Recipe (thedomesticfringe.com)