In Tom Hodgekinson’s book “How to be free” he exhorts the reader to bake bread. Baking your own bread, he argues, is very freeing. Knowing that you can bake your own bread leaves you feeling that you can do anything. It is something that sounds difficult and time consuming but couldn’t actually be easier. The difference between store bought and homemade could also not be greater.
When you can follow this simple recipe for a loaf you will soon be baking your own cumin wholewheat pitta bread and delicious pizza bases.
If this is the first time you have made bread then I would recommend starting with white flour as it is easier to use if less delicious. Just make sure it is strong flour as this contains more gluten that holds the loaf together and gives it its texture. One you are happy making bread try using different combinations of flour. White/Rye/Malted is one of my favourites.
• 500g bread/strong flour
• 1 packet fast acting yeast
• 1tsp sugar
• 1 tbsp salt
• 320ml warm water
• glug of oil
Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and bring together.
Empty onto a board and kneed for 10 minutes (have a look on YouTube to get an idea of technique). You will know when the dough is ready because it will spring back when you poke it.
Put the dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp tea fowl. Leave it for a couple of hours until doubled in size. Go and read a book, organise a vegan potluck or go running.
Turn the now spongy dough back out and kneed again for 5 minutes.
Place in a loaf tin and leave to rise again for about 30 min while the oven heats up to 220oC.
When it has risen place in the oven for about 25min. After this time take it out and tap it on the bottom, if it sounds hollow it is done. Let it cool on a rack and then eat.
I love making bread, it makes the house smell lovely and it always feels like an accomplishment. It is also very versatile and soon you will baking daily.
What are your favourite bread recipes? What do you add in to keep things interesting?