Friday, 27 July 2012

Basic White Bread

What's this?  Bread?  That's certainly something that's not cropped up on here before.  Which is strange really, because I love making bread.  I just don't seem to have made any since starting this blog.  I used to make it a fair bit at university, and made some when I was living with my boyfriend's parents.  My cheesy loaf was very popular there.  

So today I decided I wanted to make bread (and a couple of other things to come later) so I grabbed the bread book which was among the first birthday presents my boyfriend ever got me and thumbed through.  Whilst I have found a lot of recipes I now want to make in the near future, I decided it was best to start with a basic loaf because the two of us would both enjoy it.  And enjoy it we did!  My GOD was this bread good.  It's not a very big loaf and we devoured it over lunch.  It's all gone already.  And I have to say, it is amazing served warm.  So if you can serve it that way then do.

Recipe - adapted from The Big Book Of Bread
Makes 1 small-ish loaf
  • 350g/12.3oz strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar
  • 3/4 tsp dried yeast
  • 12.5g/0.5oz butter, diced
  • About 225ml/8fl.oz warm water
  1. Grease a 9.5x4inch / 25x10cm loaf tin and set to one side.
  2. Sift the flour and the salt into a large bowl.
  3. Add the sugar and yeast and mix together.
  4. Rub in the butter.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the mix and pour in about half the water.  Mix.
  6. Keep adding the water a bit at a time and mixing together until you get a soft dough.  You probably won't need all the water.  If you put too much water in and make the dough too sticky, add a little flour to balance it out.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, or in your bowl if it is big enough, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.  This is about 10 minutes of kneading.
  8. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with clingfilm and put in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size.
  9. Once it is risen, punch the dough in the centre to deflate it and knead for another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Shape into an oblong and press into the loaf tin.  Cover and sit on top of your oven.
  11. Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8 and leave the tin sitting on top for about 30 minutes to let it rise to double its size again.
  12. Bake the loaf for 15 minutes.
  13. Turn down the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 and bake for another 15-20 minutes.  After this the bread should be risen, golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  14. Turn out onto a rack to cool for a few minutes before serving.

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