How to Make Bread

DSCI2661 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!!!

Ingredients

700g strong white flour

7.5g dried yeast

10g sugar

2tsp salt

20g butter or margarine spread

450ml tepid water

Method

  • 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.

DSCI2649

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!DSCI2667

For more tasty and simple recipes in the Cooking Duo’s “How to Make” range of recipes, simply follow this blog by either popping your email address in (it’s safe to do so and is will not be passed to any third parties), or of you are a fellow blogger, it’s as easy as clicking ‘Follow’. Our blog is here – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – and you’ll find us over on Twitter, too @Love_Food_UK as well as Mumsnet Bloggers Network and Foodies100. Oh, and did we mention we’re on Facebook, too? 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Shortcrust Pastry

DSCI2459

With a few ingredients, you can turn your hand to making your own shortcrust pastry, anytime and for a fraction of the cost of buying ready-made.

Ingredients

225g plain flour

100g margarine

Pinch of salt

4-5 tbsps of water

Method

  • Put the flour into a bowl. Add the margarine and salt.
  • DSCI2441Using your washed, clean hands, rub the margarine into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs in appearance.
  • DSCI2445Add 3-4 tablespoons of water by sprinkling it across the mixture. DSCI2452

Dawn: The aim is to combine the ingredients to form a small ball being mindful not to add too much water.
Andrew: Why do you have to be aware of how much water to add, Dawn?
Dawn: Too much water will make the pastry hard rather than mouthwateringly crumbly so it’s worth knowing this.

  • Stir in the water with a spoon until the mixture starts to stick together. DSCI2454
  • With one hand, collect the dough-like mixture together to form a ball.
  • Knead lightly for a few seconds to give a smooth, firm pastry dough.DSCI2460

Dawn: Don’t over handle the mixture as this can make it hard in texture, too. 

  • To roll out, sprinkle a little flour on a clean working surface and a rolling pin (no flour on the actual pastry dough). Roll out the dough evenly in one direction, turning it occasionally.

Dawn: Aim for a thickness of about 1/8th of an inch and try not to pull or stretch the pastry.
Andrew: You can bake it straight away but it’s best to allow the pastry to ‘rest’ for 30 minutes in the ovenproof dish or tin you are using, covered with cling film or foil ahead of cooking it. 

  • Bake until lightly golden brown on gas mark 6, 200 °C electric.

Dawn: There are many variations such as wholemeal pastry using wholemeal flour rather than plain flour as well as cheese pastry where you simply add 100g of mature cheddar or a hard cheese of your choice along with an optional pinch of dry mustard powder before you add the water.
Andrew: That sounds a really interesting and delicious alternative pastry, Dawn.
Dawn: It is, Andrew and so very easy to do, too. I reckon that the shortcrust pastry recipe here has cost less that 50p in ingredients using basic range plain flour.
Andrew: WOW! That’s great to learn, Dawn and what this blog is all about.

For more economical and tasty food recipes, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – Twitter @Love_Food_UK as well as finding is on Facebook (come Like us, please) and we are over at MumsNet Bloggers Network, too! 

How to Make Pancakes

20140304_201911

Today is Shrove Tuesday, foodies! Time to face your faces and toss or flip to your hearts content! Pancake Day has arrived!

Dawn: Pancakes are so simple, Andrew. So, what is the issue?

Andrew: Too many memories of pancakes on the floor or stuck to the ceiling, I suppose. Really, there is nothing to it.

Dawn: And I suppose you are going to give me a history lesson, too?

Andrew: Of course!Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. Now we see those as basics and essentials, but the tradition was to use all these up and not touch them again until Easter – hence Easter Eggs!

Dawn: Fascinating!

Ingredients

110g/4oz plain flour, sifted

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

200ml milk

75ml water

50g/2oz butter

To serve

Caster sugar

Lemon juice

Method

  • Sift the flour and salt into a  bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it.
  • Whisk the eggs incorporating all the flour.
  • Gradually add the milk and water , continuing to whisk.
  • Whisk again until the batter is smooth.
  • Melt the  butter in a saucepan. Spoon a little of it into the batter and whisk it in.
  • Use the butter to grease the pan, using  kitchen paper to spread it round before you make each pancake.
  • Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium.
  • Use 2 tbsp of batter in a  18cm pan. Ladle it into the pan in one go.
  • Tip the batter around from side to side to get an even thickness.
  • Half a minute will do, then lift the edge with a palette knife and check there is a lovely golden-colour tinge.
  • Flip the pancake over with a pan slice  or toss if you are brave. A few more seconds and you are done.
  • Slide onto a plate and serve.

Dawn: Sugar and lemon are traditional.

Andrew: The younger members of the Lover Food household prefer jam, chocolate spread or even bananas.

  • Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.

Dawn: You can also keep them warm in a low heat oven, staked simply on top of each other or warm for 20-30 seconds in the microwave. 

  • To serve, sprinkle each pancake with freshly squeezed lemon juice or prepared lemon juice and caster sugar, fold in half, then in half again to form triangles, or else simply roll them up or serve flat, individually. Serve sprinkled with a little more sugar and lemon juice and extra sections of lemon.

Dawn: We also have our Perfect Pancakes recipe here for a decadent version including all the ‘trimmings’, so to speak! http://wp.me/p3lk3r-1E

For more great food and cooking ideas, follow us at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com or on Twitter @Love_Food_UK.