How to make bread has changed little over the years. Most breads include yeast and require kneading, which then need to be left to rise and shaped before popping in the oven. There are breads known as ‘quick breads’ that don’t need to be left to rise and a few breads that don’t require any raising agent (yeast) which are called unleavened breads.
Andrew: So what are we making today, Dawn?
Dawn: We’re starting with white bread. My first time, too! How exciting!!!
700g strong white flour
7.5g dried yeast
20g butter or margarine spread
450ml tepid water
- Place a piece of greaseproof paper on a baking tray or alternatively, lightly grease a non-stick baking tray with a little butter or margarine.
- Put the dried yeast in a small bowl and add the tepid water (luke warm in temperature). Sprinkle the sugar on top and stir. Set aside in a warm place for approximately 15 minutes until there appears a froth on top.
Dawn: A radiator is an excellent place to stand this while the ingredients work their magic.
- Put the flour and salt in a large bowl along with the butter and rub the ingredients together between your fingertips.
Dawn: There isn’t really much of a difference in texture when you have rubbed the ingredients together. Just make sure the small amount of butter is blended into the flour and salt, that it’s become part of the ‘whole’.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour ingredients and add the dissolved yeast in tepid water liquid mixture. Stir it in with a spoon.
- Using your hand(s), work the ingredients into a firm ball adding a little extra flour if it becomes too sticky. The aim is to have the ball of dough leave the bowl clean. Don’t let the dough become too stiff in texture as this makes the bread heavy and not light in texture when it is baked.
- Dust a work surface with flour and turn the ball of dough out on to it. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it feels firm, elastic-like in texture and isn’t sticky.
- Shape into a ball and place back in the bowl, covering the bowl with cling film.
Andrew: The cling film stops a ‘skin’ forming on the dough.
- Leave the dough to rise until it is double its original size. The dough should spring back when pressing it gently with a flour-dusted finger.
- Turn the dough back out onto the flour dusted work surface and knead well for a further 2-3 minutes.
Dawn: Make sure you use your knuckles firmly to release any air bubbles that may be trapped in the dough.
- Smooth over the top of the dough and tuck the ends under it. Place on the baking tray and dust the top of the dough ball with flour.
Andrew: Or glaze the dough to your preference.
Dawn: Yes, we’ve dusted this loaf with flour but you can use a glaze made from 1 part salt dissolved in part 3 parts warm water, brushed over the top to create a crusty top. We’ll be writing more about bread glazes and bread in general in another article.
- Place the baking tray in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 8, 230°C electric for 35-40 minutes until it has risen high and looks golden brown in colour. When it’s cooked, it will have a hollow sound when you turn it over and tap the bottom of it.
Andrew: There are variations on bread from what flour is used, liquids added and toppings used. We’ll cover these in more detail in seperate recipes and articles to this blog.
- Serve the bread warm with lashings of low fat soft cheese or a smidge of butter and salivate at its sheer moreishness with each bite!
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