Hi all. Hope you are all doing well.

If your in the UK right now, you should be experiencing cold temperatures and if your really lucky be having a SNOW DAY!!!
The snow is set to stay for the weekend, and if you find yourself food shopping, you may have noticed that some shelves will be out of essentials such as bread and milk.

Have no fear. a few simple ingredients from the shop you will be able to make your own……

 

Bread making and baking is truly one of the most satisfying procedures in the World. Just the smell alone can sell a house!
But have you ever noticed how that loaf from the supermarket keeps for days, even more than a week?
Well it shouldn’t. Fresh bread should have very few ingredients and have a shelf life of around 2-3 days. Shop bought bread is very over processed and tasteless. Bakery bread is much better but check your individual shop and company for the ingredients list. Be especially wary of salt as it can be a highly overused ingredient.
When making breads you can either knead by hand or use a mixer with a dough hook. The hook manipulates the bread in the correct way to ensure even and thorough mixing and to stretch the gluten making a fluffier, more elastic dough and therefore loaf.

 

Now flour…
A very important part of bread making. There are now many fantastic flours available on line and in shops.
Flours start from very basic white bread to speciality grains such as khorasan and malt bread flours, and everything in between such as rye, spelt and granary.
To start I would recommend a basic white loaf. Nice and simple, very few ingredients, tasty and easy. A real confidence booster if your are a nervous, first time bread baker.

A Daily Bread:
You will need a electric mixer or a strong arm, a bit of time and a 2lb/800g bread tin.
Ingredients: For 1 medium loaf.
x 500g Strong white bread flour, use organic if possible, but any is fine.
x 7 g dry/easy. Yeast sachets are 7g so one is enough. Put into flour, not water.
x 10 g salt,
x 10 g sugar
x 2 tablespoons of oil,
x 300 mls of lukewarm water, straight from tap is fine, not hot as this will kill the yeast.

Method:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Have an empty roasting tin in the oven ready.
In the bowl add all dry ingredients and mix. Add the oil to the water, then add to dry mix.

If using your hands bring together and mix into a ball. The mix may be very ‘claggy’ and wet but resist adding more flour as it will come together. To save all that fuss, I put Dolly on with her dough hook for around 6-10 minutes until dough is elastic and springs back when gently prodded with your finger.

Leave in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until double in size.
I put mine in the airing cupboard and check if after around 40 minutes.

When doubled, the next stage is knocking back. Simply punch the dough to stop the rise (which is quite fun if you’re having a bad day).
Next is shaping. If the mix is sticking to your hands, put a tiny amount of oil or water onto your hands. To shape, slightly flatten and stretch the ball then fold in all ends into the middle, turn over and place into the tin. All the ends should be in the bottom. This allows the loaf to rise up from the tin.
Next is the second proof/rise. This is the final shape of the loaf. Again put in the warm place and leave to rise for another 40-60 minutes.
After rising I score the top with a sharp knife, just because I love the look on the crust.
Just before putting in the oven pour a cup full of water into the empty roasting tin. The water stops the loaf burning in the intense heat and creates a great crust. Bake your loaf for around 40 minutes.

The top should be golden brown and the base should be hollow.
Turn onto a wire rack and cool. YUMMMMM!!!

The method sounds hard and time consuming, but after a few goes you will get into a routine of making and it will become second nature.

I bake my bread for the week whilst cooking Sunday dinner. This is handy as the oven is already on and is up to temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

A Fuller Loaf for Longer.

My Rye and Poppy Seed.
Brilliant for in the week sandwiches. Rye is a complex carbohydrate so should help keep you fuller for longer.
For 1 medium loaf
x 400g Rye flour,
x 100g white bread flour,
x 10g/1.5 sachet of easy/dry yeast,
x 10g salt,
x 2 tablespoons/ sprinkling of poppy seeds, for the top.
x 320 mls lukewarm water.

Follow the same method as before of mixing dry then adding water.
Mix, proof, knock back, shape and second proof.
Bake again with water in the oven until browned and hollow sounding.
Cool and cut into thick slices. Best served as a juicy sandwich filled with roast chicken, or a classic Reuben sandwich, of sliced beef brisket, sauerkraut, Dutch cheese and a dill pickle. Amazing.

 

Spelt and Honey Rolls.
A mixed seed and sweet roll.
x 500g Mixed seed and honey flour- I use a great one by Shipton Mill,
x 7 g easy/quick/dry yeast,
x 10 g sugar,
x 10 g salt,
x 320 mls of lukewarm water.

Method as before, but after knocking back, shape into 6-8 evenly sized balls. I weigh them so they are similar sizes. Place on an oiled baking tray and proof a second time as before.
Bake again with water but for around 10-20 minutes this time depending on size.
A This will create a lovely, lightly sweet, savoury roll. I enjoy mine with a home made spicy chicken and parsnip soup.

 

With all of these recipes you can shape then in any way you like, rolls, loaves, you could plait long strips, baguette or a rough loaf. The choice is yours, just follow the rules of;
Mix, knead, 1st proof, knock back, shape, 2nd proof, bake. As long as you have all your ingredients and leave enough time for the bread to proof each time, you should end up with a nice edible loaf.
You can also decorate with a choice of seeds and grains. I use oats, fennel, caraway, onion and poppy are my favourites. Wet the top of the shaped loaf with water and sprinkle on. Then prove and bake.

Bread is all about feel and love and a bit of time. You will get quicker and in my experience each loaf was better than the last, so keep practising and you’ll soon be a true Master Baker.

Good luck, try some this weekend love Janine xxx