October 5, 2012 by Bloke In A Kitchen
I love making my own bread at home, and it really is easy, therapeutic and hugely rewarding. It’s also tastier, and much, much cheaper than most of the bread you can buy in the shops. Freshly made bread like this needs to be eaten the same day, which isn’t much of a hardship.
I tried a ‘no knead‘ recipe which is astonishingly easy, and because bread generally tastes the longer you leave it to ‘rise‘ and ferment, the better. I then tried the recipe with some sugar and sultanas to create this lovely fruity bread.
All you do is mixed the ingredients in a bowl, leave for 18-24 hours (so prepare the dough ahead in good time) in a reasonably warm, draught free environment, and then bake it for half an hour. It really is that easy!
400g strong plain white flour
7g packet of dried yeast
1 teaspoon of salt
300ml warm / tepid water
1. Seive the flour into a large mixing bowl.
2. Add the dried yeast, salt, sugar and sultanas. Mix thoroughly.
3. Slowly add the water, whilst stirring the flour mixture.
4. Mix the dough with a spoon/fork until well combined.
5. Place a dinner plate on top of the bowl, (or cover with clingfilm, or a clean, damp t-towel) and then put aside somewhere warm and safe, away from draughts. (You don’t have to worry too much about the temperature – just nowhere too chilly).
6. Leave to rise and ferment away for 18-24 hours. So ideally, prepare this the afternoon or evening before.
7. After 18-24 hours or so, place the dough (it’ll be very sticky!) onto a well-greased baking tray, and form into a loaf shape. Leave the dough in a warm place for a further 30 minutes to rise a little again.
8. Place on the middle shelf of a pre-heated oven at Gas Mark 8 / 450F / 230C, and bake at this temperature for 15 minutes.
If you want a crusty loaf, place a large deep sided baking tray filled with water on the lowest oven shelf. This will create a steam in the oven whilst baking.
9. After 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to Gas Mark 6 / 400F / 200C. Cook for another 15 minutes.
(Total cooking time is 30 minutes)
10. Remove the bread from the baking tray (hopefully it won’t be too stuck, you may well need to ease it off with a fish-slice as the dough is sticky.
11. Check the bread is done by tapping the bottom of the loaf, and it should sound hollow. Personally I return the loaf to the oven (upside down) for a few more minutes to crisp the bottom a little.
11. Place on a wire rack, and allow to cool. Ideally eat warm with plenty of oozy, melting butter. Delicious!
* Optional. To give the bread a lovely crusty crust, place a deep sided baking tray with water, on the bottom shelf of the oven.