We are eating things up and so I have hardly done any cooking or baking yet this week. A few people have asked me about my bread recipe and so I thought that I would post it today. It is so easy and quick to make and doesn’t need knocking back and proving again like most bread. I used to knead it by hand and was quite ‘snobby’ about making it the traditional way, but one day I had my hands full doing other things and so I did it in the mixer with a dough hook. I have never gone back to hand kneading as it comes out even lighter. You can get two small loaves or one big loaf from this mixture.
700g strong bread flour (I use half white and half brown)
50g plain flour (it just makes it lighter, but you can use strong bread flour instead)
1 heaped tsp salt
2 x 7g sachets of yeast (you can use one, but I noticed Paul Hollywood doubles the yeast)
450ml water (3/4 pint of half cold and half boiling and combined).
1.In a large bowl put the flour, salt and yeast.
2.Rub in the butter
3.Stir in the water and mix to a soft dough.
4. Knead for 10 mins either by hand or with a dough hook. Only use a little bit of flour if kneading by hand. I find that the bread is a lot lighter if you use a dough hook.
5. After kneading add any seeds, fruit, garlic, nuts or herbs etc (optional you can leave plain) and knead into the mixture.
6. Shape. (I just take out of the mixing bowl and knead a couple of time and mould it into the shape I want. Put the shaped loaf into a loaf tin or on a baking tray. Slash the top a few times with a sharp knife to stop it splitting.
Cover with oiled cling film, or a bag, (or tea towel if in a warm room) and leave to rise in a warm place until it doubles its size. (I often have the oven on now baking other things to warm the room up. Mine is a double oven with a small oven above. The small oven heats up by the bottom oven being on below and so acts as a proving oven and so I put the bread in there often, or I place the tray on a pot on top of the wood burning fire in winter.)
7. You can put a milk glaze on top before baking in the oven (minus cling film) but I don’t. Cook for 30 to 35 mins in fan oven at 210C. The bread should sound hollow when knocked underneath when it is ready.
Most of these pictures are old as I don’t photograph it much now. I now use a couple of hotel shower caps to put over the bread to rise instead of cling film, and wash and re-use. Our favourite bread to make is Rosemary and sultana or seeded bread. You can put whatever you want into it, though. I will often add nettle or sunflower seeds to add nutrition.