Fresh bread is one of the simple joys of living: the appetising smell of it baking, then with the loaf fresh from the oven, the temptation of tearing a piece off the loaf before it’s even had time for you to cool down. Riding home in the car from the bakery, or perhaps a supermarket, with a warm, new loaf in a brown paper bag, you have with an iron will to obtain home with this loaf intact, especially with children in the car with you too.
Baking bread in the home can be fun, if you’re not under pressure. It is really a task that children can help with, kneading alongside you. When you’re forming the loaves you are able to section off some dough in order for them to make their particular sculpturally shaped rolls, which they could decide to try school proudly inside their lunch boxes another day. Then you get to fill your home with the scent of baking bread, which makes it feel warm and welcoming on even the most dismal winter day.
Breadmaking machines, of the kind that you feed it the ingredients then it spits out a ready baked loaf a few hours later really are a boon to individuals with no time for you to bake for themselves – you obtain the pleasures of waking up to the aroma of bread wafting through your house, without some of the labour to create it. When you yourself have time though, making bread is not hard. It could be a relaxing, meditative experience. As your hands rhythmically knead the dough, you are able to let the mind wander and feel the link with the men and women who’ve gone about any of it daily task over the centuries.
When you yourself have never tried making bread before, try this simple recipe for a plain white loaf first. Nothing fancy, just plain, delicious white bread with far more chew and texture than shop bread could ever have.
White Bread Recipe
1kg/2.2lbs white bread flour
15g/4 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
about 700ml/ not quite 3 cups water
You need a large mixing bowl or you are able to heap the flour onto a clean surface and produce a well for the water. I use a bowl and mix the flour and salt, produce a well for the yeast, then pour the water in, gradually stirring with a knife. Once it’s get together into dough, tip it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, sprinkling on more flour as you go, when it gets too sticky.
Knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it away with the heel of one other, fold it back on itself and repeat. It will start off sticky and lumpy and gradually become smooth brot selber backen. After 10 minutes it will feel springy and rise up again if you dent it together with your finger. Use it in the bowl again, cover with a plastic bag or clean cloth and leave in a warm place far from draughts for an hour and a half, till it’s doubled in size. If you are in the depths of winter and no warm places can be found, it’ll still rise, just taking longer. Pass by the doubling in dimensions rather than the period of time it takes.
Knock the dough down – squashing all the air from it again – then shape it into two loaves, which can be round, long, plaited or sculptural! Put the loaves onto a floured or lightly oiled baking tray. Leave to rise again for 3/4 of an hour, again covering with a plastic bag or cloth, then bake at 200C/400F for 30 minutes. (If the kids make small rolls they’ll be achieved sooner, check after 15 minutes). The bread is done when it sounds hollow as you knock on the underside of the loaf.
The great thing about bread is that it’ll be edible even although you over-bake it, just crustier. My only failure with this particular recipe was the very first time I made it. I made one huge loaf with this particular quantity and the centre was somewhat underdone, but even then we’re able to eat the others of it.