Come break bread with me

I remembered today a conversation I had with my dad around 3 years ago.

D: Do you know how to make bread?

Gcroft: I do, but given my hectic lifestyle, it’s easier just to pop into Waitrose to buy a loaf of my choice. I don’t have 3 hours to knead, proof, knead, proof for the second time, bake, chill a loaf of bread.

D: Gcroft, learn to make bread.

We are fitting in a new kitchen in 2 weeks’ time, and hubby has asked if we could use up our food stock soon in order to reduce the amount of packing and the obvious food wastage.

I had about 700g of strong bread flour in the press, and decided to make a loaf of bread. I found a basic bread recipe in Jamie’s  Return of the Naked Chef recipe book, and modified it slightly.

Ingredients

  • 500g strong bread flour
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 250ml tepid water
  • 5g salt
  • extra flour for dusting

Method

  1. Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl
  2. Pour half the water in, mix well, knead and slowly pour in the remainder of the water
  3. Tip the flour mixture onto a pastry mat, and knead well for 5 minutes to work the gluten in the flour until the dough takes shape
  4. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to proof for 40 minutes
  5. After 40 minutes, the dough would have doubled in size. Tip it onto a pastry mat again, and knead the air out of the dough for a few minutes
  6. Leave the dough to proof for a second time in the bowl, and cover with cling film
  7. Tip the dough onto a pastry mat, knead the flour into your desired shape
  8. Grease and dust either a baking tray of a loaf pan with flour, and place the dough on it. Dust the top of the dough with flour.  Bake for 45 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees (gas mark 5)
  9. Transfer the baking tray to a cooling rack, leave to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the bread from the baking tray and leave to cool for a further 15 minutes before serving

  Look dad, I made bread today. I hope Waitrose doesn’t go bust on my account!

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5 thoughts on “Come break bread with me

    • The way I make buns, they’d be lucky to belong in Venus! I’ve been eyeing the Bread baker’s Apprentice Book for a while now. Perhaps I should give it a go. But then Patricia Well’s 21st birthday edition of Bistro Cooking is just out, and so is Bill’s Basics. Decisions, decisions. Do you have any of these books Conor?

      • The number of cookbooks I own is embarrassingly small and I have none of these. I have consistently heard good things about the Bread Baker’s Apprentice though, and it seems to be a great reference book in addition to have the recipes.

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