Our Daily Bread

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.

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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.

dsc_1492

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

X

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13 Responses to Our Daily Bread

  1. Therese says:

    I love making pizza bases but haven’t really tried bread. I will have to have a go at your recipe Deb.

    Therese

  2. try add wheatgerm (so healthy) to the mix and different seeds.

    I use fresh yeast for really good results. And what’s great is you can use cold water then – leave the whole thing to stand overnight (quick mix with a spoon) and it’s ready to be shaped and baked the next morning.

    I don’t bother with any fat in the mixture (but if I did I’d go with the touch of oil rather than marg/butter)

  3. Rosemary says:

    I do not think you are in the category of an OK kind of cook (as I am). This is very impressive. I can’t remember when I made my own bread. The aroma must be heavenly. Beautiful to look at too.

  4. Debs Mum and Dad says:

    we can vouch for Deb,s bread its delicious!! deb,s dad just said MUCH BETTER !! than any shop bought, and it sold really quickly at the Church Fair and deb was complimented by one of the purchasers, great deb, love you lots mum dad xx

  5. Mimi says:

    Fantastic job! Yum!

  6. Owen says:

    Put the kettle on. As soon as I can find a way across the Pond I’ll be right there.

    Well, no, wait — not until sometime after surgery because it’s all fluids for me for another month.

    However, that is a feast for my eyes at least.

  7. antonia says:

    we were given a bread maker and it is super easy & convenient!

    xxx

  8. ukok says:

    Owen, anytime you fancy that swim, just let me know and i’ll go and put the kettle on, chuck!

    Antonia, you need all the convenience you can get with your lovely little bundle of joy keeping you awake at night!

  9. Moni says:

    You are right, there is something very wholesome about baking bread. About making all ‘real’ foods from scratch really. It nourishes us in many different ways.
    Well done!
    I used to bake all my own bread, untill my daughter moved out that is. I just do not eat enough bread by myself to have freshly baked bread all the time. And once it has been in the freezer, it has lost its ‘magic’ I feel.

  10. The Judge says:

    You have made me so hungry!

    Across the pond here we will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week. Sounds like a good time to try this out.

    Thanks, and keep posting. The blogosphere demands!

  11. Tim J. says:

    Your bread loaves look fantastic… and thanks for the recipe! I am behind on my three-fold project of making my own bread, cheese and beer, but it looks like the bread part might be easier than I thought. I’m going to try out this recipe.

    Have you ever tried mixing half white flour and half wholemeal flour?

    I love the wholemeal, but the wife and kids prefer white.

  12. ukok says:

    Moni, i know what you mean about it not really being as beneficial to bake bread when you live alone.

    Judge, thanks! What a great encouragement, Wow!

    Tim, yes yes yes yes yes!

    I often have a couple of bags of flour that just have a bit in and not enough to make a loaf, so i combine wholemeal and white flour. The result is great. It doesn’t rise dramatically due to the wholemeal flour being much denser, but it is very tasty. When you work out a cheese recipe i would love to see your post on that. I love cheese. Particularly a good mature, and heaps of the blue cheeses. yum!

  13. Jennifer says:

    They look so yummy in the pic. And wouldn’t you know it my dinner is 30 min away so I’m really hungry already!

    I made cinnamon buns yesterday, although I take an even easier way…the breadmaker!

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