Baking is more popular than ever, and with the Great British Bake Off on our screens now there is a real buzz around it.
Bread is a lot easier to make than most people believe and, unlike mass produced loaves, doesn’t need any enhancers, improvers, additives or preservatives. You only need four ingredients, Flour, Water, Yeast and a little Salt, to make a lovely home-baked loaf.
I always use Fresh Yeast which you can get from the Bakery Counter of most supermarkets, just ask for it as it will be kept in fridges not on the shelf.
Whilst it takes time to bake bread, most of that time is the yeast doing its work while you can get on with other things.
Try the simple Yeasted Bread recipe then enjoy!
500g Strong Flour
300g warm (NOT HOT) water
15g fresh yeast OR 10g dried (about 1 ½ sachets)
What to do:
Put the salt into a large bowl then put the flour on top. Salt is essential to bread but it kills yeast if they meet too early so bury the yeast under the flour until you want them to meet.
Crumble in the fresh yeast or sprinkle the dried.
Add the water. I always weigh the water as it is a more accurate measure.
Make your hand into a claw and mix the content of the bowl.
You should pull it into a big ball of dough with little flour left on the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough onto a worksurface Do Not flour the worksurface or you will change the ratio of flour to liquid. Don’t worry the dough will pick up any stray bits as it develops.
First pick the ball up and slap it down onto the surface a few times.
Then knead. The best way to do this is to make a cylinder of dough, make sure that this faces away from you. Put the fingers of one hand on the end nearest you and use the ball of your palm to push away from you, rolling the dough back towards you. You should now have a cylinder at 90 degrees to the way you started.
Pick the dough up and slap it down again facing away again.
Repeat the knead.
After 5-10 minutes you will notice the dough has a totally different texture and has picked up any little bits from the surface. Your hand will also have become clean.
Place the dough into a big bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about an hour to rise. It should double in size. Warm means anywhere that is comfortable you do not have to get over 30 degrees or anything, even if the room is cold the yeast will work, just slower.
When the dough has risen take it out of the bowl and knead again for about 5 minutes.
Put the dough into a lightly oiled loaf tin or roll into a ball and place in a cake tin to rise. Cover your tin with a dish towel and leave for another hour.
Meanwhile heat your oven to 230c or just the max available temperature.
When the bread has doubled in size again put into the oven for 30 minutes.
You should have a lovely loaf.