On a recent vist to a friends house she asked me to try her home baked bread. I have to admit it was delicous and white bread really is my weak spot in my constant battle with my waste line.. As delecious as it was I still thought to myself how nice it would be if I had time to bake my own bread and concluded that it was still far to much hassle to bake your own and that my weekly visit to the bakers was going to continue for the forseeable future.
When asked why she baked at home she responded it was quicker and healthier. This seemed to put a dent in my argument. Bread from many bakery’s contain chemical addatives, hydrogenated oils, unhealthy preservatives, and fattening sweeteners. Bread made at home is free from such nasty’s however the down side is that the bread baked at home wont stay fresh as long but with just a little planning you can prepare the right amount so you dont have too much wastage.
As baking your bread at home becomes more popular many people are switching to bread makers. They are small, convenient and inexpensive. For those that want a more traditional, simple oven baked recipe, I have supplied a standerd white loaf recipe that should make between 12 to 14 thick slices. Enjoy.
The recipe below is a simple home made bread recipe. I was surprsied by how little kitchen equipment was needed to complete it.
All you need is.
- a large bowl
- a surface, pan or bread tin
- a fork or spoon for stirring
- measuring spoons
- plastic wrap, foil, and a clean cloth
- Melted butter, for greasing and brushing
- 500g (3 1/3 cups) plain flour
- 2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 375mls (1 1/2 cups) lukewarm water
- Extra water, for brushing
- 1 tsp sesame seeds, for sprinkling(optional)
- Start by measuring all your ingrediants then take a 10 x 20cm loaf pan/tin melt the butter and lightly grease the pan Salt is added to bread dough simply to add flavour.
- mix the plain flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl .Make sure these ingreidiants are mixed well. create a small well in the centreand heat your water until just luke warm(not boiling) add the water to the dry ingredients.Note. If the water is to hot it will kill the yeast.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. this part is fun. use heel of your hand to push the dough away from you and then lift it with your fingertips and fold it over itself towards you. Turn the dough a quarter turn and repeat. Press your finger into the center of the dough.If it springs back it is ready
- Shape the dough into t rounded ball shape . Grease your large bowl with the melted butter Put the dough into the bowl and move it inside the bowel until the entire surfuce is lightly coverd with the mettled butter. coat the dough surface with the butter. cover the bowel with a damp tea towel and leave to stand it in a warm, draught-free place to allow the dough to rise. The best temrature is around 30 degress
- wait for 45 to 65 mins (depending on temp of room) The dough will double in size(proving) to check the dough is ready for cooking lightly press with your index finger. If it leaves a imprint and has a dense texture the dough is now ready.
- now is a good time to preheat your oven to 200C
- the next step is to ceate a fist and Punch down in the centre fo the dough with your fist. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead again for 2-3 minutes the dough should now return to the orignal size..
- Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and shape each into a smooth round shape. Place the portions of dough side by side into the greased loaf pan.. Stand the pan in a warm, draught-free this time for about 30 minutes and wait for the dough to rice about 1cm Brush the top of the loaf with a little water and tsprinkle with the sesame seeds. Place the load in the oven for 30 minutes (cooking times may vary)an old tip to test if your loaf is ready is to tap it on the base with your knuckle if it sounds hollow, Its done.
- Immediatly remove the loaf and leave to stand.Dont leave it in the tin as it wont be crusty when you eat it. for the most tasty loaf eat while still warm on the day of baking.