Bread is something I used to find scary, I used to swiftly flick past the bread and pastry sections in recipe books, it takes too long, uses too many ingredients and is too hard. Then one day a friend and his partner was coming over for dinner. Obsessed with appearing as though I am a domestic goddess I decided to try baking some rolls to go with the meal. I found a recipe, discovered it consisted of 5 ingredients, one of which came out of a tap. I tried the recipe tentatively, and have never looked back. I now bake bread at least once a week, normally on a day when I have had a stressful time at work. Not only is it free from any preservatives or additives, it actually tastes better than shop bought bread, and one very simple recipe can be adapted for any number of uses. One bag of flour (1.5k) costs around £1.50 add in the yeast and other bits i estimate it costs around 80p a time to make a loaf of bread. Making bread is easy, but still impressive, want to win over any guest to your house? Ensure that you have put some bread in to bake 15 minutes before they arrive, they will think that you have spent the entire day slaving away, and only you will know the wonderful truth.
If you like this blog then please follow me on twitter @woodenrambles, you will get notifications of new posts and maybe a bit of a natter about The Bake Off!
500g Flour (can do 50/50 strong bread making flour/plain flour. Can do all strong bread making flour.)
7g fast action yeast
350ml warm water
Table spoon of salt
Tablespoon of oil.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Smush around with your hands until the dough is sticky but combined
- Turn out on to a floured surface.
- Knead for between 10 and 15 minutes until the dough Is soft, smooth and stretchy, it should no longer be sticky. When you start kneading the dough will most likely gam your hands together, and you wont believe that it will eventually look like bread dough. Keep going, and it will get there. I often do this by a window so I can watch the world go by as I knead. If you use brown flour, this has less gluten than white flour, and so will remain sticky for longer, I advise if using brown adding only 300ml if water to begin with, check the consistency, and add the remaining 50ml if the dough appears dry.
(How to knead. Kneading is the motion of pulling dough up and in to a ball using your finger tips, and then pushing away and flattening the dough with the heel of your hand, look for videos on youtube if unsure.)
- Once smooth and soft, place the dough in to a well oiled large bowl, cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place (airing cupboard, on top of a warm oven, by a radiator) for 1 hour until the it has doubled in size. Make a cup of tea, have a biscuit and watch come dine with me, this is how I usually fill the hour!
- After an hour, remove the tea towel, form a fist with your hand and punch the dough until it is back to its original size.
- Shape the dough either by hand in to round rolls, roll in to a sausage and tie in a knot for knotted rolls, place in a loaf tin, make micky mouse head, whatever you want! Leave on a floured tray cover with a cloth once more and allow to rise again for an hour. I normally make dinner during this hour, and once doubled in size again stick in to an oven at 180 for 20 mins if small rolls, 40 mins if a large loaf. Once out of the oven cover with a cloth again to prevent drying out, and leave to cool.
Other uses for this dough
This dough can also be used for flat breads and pizza dough. After the first rising simply shape using a well floured rolling pin. For a pizza top with your favourite toppings and bake for 20 minutes in a hot oven (180). For a flat bread, shape and then lay the bread in to a hot dry frying pan, cook on one side until golden and blistered, flip and cook this side. Serve as a wrap, or as quick and easy garlic bread (just drizzle over some garlic oil and hey presto!)
After the first rise this dough can also be frozen, defrosted and used any way you like. Once you get your confidence up you can try all sorts. I love to add olives to the dough after the first rise, you could also add sundried tomatoes, parmesan, herbs, anything you like. My absolute favourite thing to do though is poppy seed knots. Just tie long sausages of the dough in to a knot, brush over some egg or milk, and sprinkle on poppy seeds.