I don’t buy bread. Actually not strictly true, I do buy bread, baguettes for putting cheese on when people come to dinner. What I don’t buy is everyday bread, you know the normal bread that people use to make sandwiches and toast with. Instead, I make it. Why? Because it tastes nicer (which is the best reason for doing anything) and because it gives me a sense of huge accomplishment for not very much work! All in all it takes about 20 minutes prep over a couple of hours, you do a bit, leave it alone, come back do a bit more, leave it again. Relaxed is the watchword. I don’t knead the dough by hand and I don’t have a Kitchen Aid with a dough hook (dammit), I use the dough hooks that came with my electric hand mixer and look like this…
I have done it by hand though and if you are going that route just remember to do so for 10 minutes and use extra flour to stop it sticking to your hands too much. (If you have never kneaded dough before have a look at this video.) Bread is quite forgiving, flour and water really do react differently depending on the weather..so if it doesn’t look right to you, add some more water or flour.
So this is how I do it and what I use…
8oz wholemeal bread flour
8oz plain flour (I don’t use bread flour, I probably should but I’m too lazy and too cheap!)
8oz (ish) of mixed seeds (I use Holland and Barrett’s Salad and Omega sprinkle but you can use whatever you fancy)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 fluid oz olive oil
10 fluid oz warm water
1 packet instant yeast
1) In a mixing bowl, mix flours, seeds, salt, sugar and yeast together.
2) Add your water and oil and mix for 5 minutes. (See note above about kneading)
It won’t look good. It will look nasty and gloopy, something like this..
…but have faith.
3) Cover it with a tea towel and leave it for an hour or so until it doubles in size. Go and watch a movie, wash your hair, whatever you fancy!
4) Don’t get too hung up about how long to leave it for, sometimes I leave it for 4 or 5 hours, sometimes less than an hour, when it looks something like this…
…….knock it back (punch it if you want!) and stick it in a bread tin.
5) Cover it with the tea towel and leave it for another hour or so. If you’re worried re-read step 4!
6) When it has risen above the lip of the tin and looks like this….
7) Bake at 200C for 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re not sure, if it doesn’t release from the tin, it’s probably not done. If you tap it on the bottom, when it sounds hollow, it’s done.
6) There you have it, bread. How easy was that?