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.
- 500g strong bread flour
- 7g instant yeast
- 250ml tepid water
- 5g salt
- extra flour for dusting
- Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl
- Pour half the water in, mix well, knead and slowly pour in the remainder of the water
- 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
- Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to proof for 40 minutes
- 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
- Leave the dough to proof for a second time in the bowl, and cover with cling film
- Tip the dough onto a pastry mat, knead the flour into your desired shape
- 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)
- 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!