I have surprised myself. I am an ok kind of cook but nothing special. It’s kind of hit and miss whether or not my baking turns out though usually, but today i tried to think back to the last time i physically bought a loaf of bread and i couldn’t remember when that was! My daughter tells me it’s been about 5 weeks since we last ate shop bought bread.
I always thought breadmaking was a complicated business, but it’s so easy to have a running supply of fresh bread without preservatives, artificial colourings and flavourings. The first batch of bread i made using the ‘yeast out of a tin’ kind of yeast, which i had to mix it with water. But i found that didn’t work too well and i didn’t quite get the mix right. So i moved on to ‘fastbake yeast’ which happend to have 30% free in each box of sachets AND it was reduced (so i wisely bought a few!).
Now i stick to the most simple bread recipe ever.
I have even got into the routine of weighing out my flour to the correct weight (1lb and 7oz) and bagging it up and storing it ready, so when i want to whip up a couple of loaves all i have to do is bung the correctly weighed flour in the cheap food mixer i have, and then slap in the other ingredients.
Here is the most simple bread recipe ever:
1 sachet of ‘easy bake’ fast working dried yeast
1 lb and 7oz of strong bread flour (if using wholemeal you made need a tad more water later on, and don;t expect wholemeal to rise as much)
14 fluid oz of warm water (2 parts cold to 1 warm)
1tsp of sugar
2tsp of salt
a dollop/1/2 oz of butter or marge/or 15mls (or a good splurge) of olive oil (if using oil, add it to the water and then pour it in at the same time, makes for an easier life)
Method: chuck all the dry ingredients in food mixer, gradually adding the fluid mixture. leave the mixer to do the hard work of kneading the dough for 5 mins (use the dough hook accessories that come with the mixer)…alternatively knead it by hand for 10 mins. switch off machine, form a shape with the dough or but it into a greased baking tin or on a greased baking sheet. Leave it somewhere warm to rise for at least an hour. I like to cover mine with tea cloths. After it has doubled in size (wholemeal is more dense and will likely not rise as much, bung in oven at 230 C.
Bake for 35-45 mins. To test if it is done, take the hot bread out of oven (using a tea towel or gloves, and carefully knock on the underneath, if it sounds hollow and the bottom is firm (unlike my saggy derriere), then it is done. Let it cool on a wire rack, or alternatively saw a bit off, slather butter on it and snaffle. Yum.
I’ve been baking like a mad thing recently so i could give about 5 loaves to the Christmas Fair, here is what i accumulated after an afternoon’s baking. Not quite the twelve loaves and 2 fishes, but i’m getting there.
I haven’t tried anything fancy with my bread but i might try making soup rolls or try plaiting it or something some time. I think doing fancy stuff will work better with the white dough, the wholemeal dough doesn’t seem to have such a flexible consistancy due to how dense it is.
There’s something wholesome about baking bread.
I just like how natural and effortless it all is. I really would be hard pressed to purchase shop bought bread again, unless convenience necessitated.
The kids absolutely love it too. I haven’t been buying nearly as many snacks or ‘treats’ because they have been replaced with snacks of bread with cheese and olives or chutney ….still haven’t made my own chutney yet though! …but the other week i bought onion chutney from Asda and it looked really runny and brown and not very appetising at all :bleugh:
Anyway folks, got to go to bed, just wanted to share.
Love n hugs