The mere mention of baking bread bread at home can be quite daunting to some.
It was to me too!
But honestly, once you take the bread making plunge its one of the most satisfying things you can do.
I seem to have phases where I make bread for days on end and then just stop again.
I think it just breaks it up a little bit,cake is usually where i'm always at!
If you read my ramblings often then you'll know my hubby is a big fan of breads and loaf type cakes.
So recently when we watched the Paul Hollywood 'Bread' series,he spent most of it pointing and saying 'want that one'
Its been a whole lotta time since i made bread so i made a simple white crusty loaf to start with.
I was happy with it,it looked like bread,it tasted like bread,it definitely smelled like bread.
You see I use past tense? Thats because its all gone,less than 24 hours later!
I didn't eat it all,before you think I gorged...I got 1 slice luckily!
I used Pauls recipe.
500g strong white bread flour
40g soft unsalted butter
12g or 2 sachets fast action dried yeast (I used tescos own brand)
about 300ml warm water..not hot!
a little sunflower oil
Put the flour and butter together in a large mixing bowl,then add the yeast and salt but make sure not to to let them touch yet. Or as paul tells us,the salt can kill the yeast before it can even start to work.
Add roughly half of the water and start to mix,bringing it together using your hand.
Gradually add a little bit of the water at a time.
You may not need every drop,you want just enough until the dough has picked up all the flour from the bowl.
It shouldn't be sticky.
Drizzle a little oil onto a clean work surface and turn the dough out.
Now knead...this is when you get to work out any pent up tension you have.
Demanding children? Husbands? Take it out on that dough and knead it well for a good 5 minutes.
When the dough is smooth and stretchy drizzle a little more oil into the mixing bowl and pop the dough back in. Cover with cling film to prevent it from drying out and set it aside to prove.
Depending on how warm your room is,about an hour later it will look something like this...
This time dust your surface with a little flour and turn the dough out again.
Knock out all the air by kneading again,this time sort of roll the dough up and turn it 45 degrees then roll it again. Keep going until it becomes a smooth dough and gently shape it into a round loaf.
Now place it onto a lined baking tray.
Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise once more.
Preheat your oven to 220c or gas mark 7.
Put a clean empty roasting tray into the bottom of the oven. (All will be revealed)
After one more hour the bread dough should have almost doubled in size again.
Sprinkle some flour on the top and very gently 'wipe' it over the loaf.
Take a sharp knife and make slits across the dough,any pattern you like I guess.
I did sort of a chequer.
Pop the loaf into the oven...but right before you close the door pour some cold water into that roasting tin.
A favourite tip of mine from the great Paul,it really does work! It creates steam and gives a fab crust on the bread.
Bake the bread for 30 minutes.
To see if its done,gently tap the bottom of the loaf and if it sounds hollow... you're all set!