Yes, it’s true, I bake bread at home and I like it waaaay more than any shop bought. Here is a simple recipe I have been enjoying the most recently.
500g strong flour
1 tsp of salt (I like salt!)
1 tbsp of caster sugar or honey
7g of dry fast action yeast
320 ml warm water (really warm, just a notch down from hot)
Optional: your seeds & herbs of choice. I tend to add fresh, finely chopped rosemary and sage directly into the dough. Mixed seeds are also great.
Stand mixer (you can also kneed by hand but who has the time these days…)
A container for your hot water/yeast mixture
Baking tray and some baking parchment
Oven (obvs. If you have a stove top bread recipe, email me!)
Mix the water, yeast and sugar in a dish. Set aside for 10 minutes or so to ‘proof’ the yeast – it should start growing and foaming.
Sift the flour and add salt and any optional herbs or seeds into a stand mixer bowl. Tip the yeast mix on top of the dry ingredients. Attach a dough hook and knead on low for about 5 minutes – the dough should be soft and coming away from the bowl and hook clean. If it’s not sticking together in the first 2 minutes, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it does.
Once kneeded, place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to raise until doubled in size. If your house is warm, this will take around 45 minutes.
Once risen, punch the dough down, take out from the bowl and shape your loaf. You can use either a regular cookie sheet or a loaf tin, it really makes no difference. I tend to go with a sheet as it looks more rustic. Either way, plop your dough onto your baking tray and with a sharp knife make 2-3 cuts across your loaf, approx 1cm deep.
Then cover again and allow to rest for another 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 Celsius.
To help the crust develop, boil some water and place a shallow dish with said water on the bottom of the oven.
Finally, to help create a nice crust spray your bread with water from the sprayer (get it quite wet) and put it into the oven. If you are adding any seeds to the top of the loaf, now is a good time to do it and the water will help them stick. Bake for 30 minutes, halfway through open the oven and give the loaf another spray of water.
To serve, be naughty and eat it with butter while still warm. Don’t eat the whole thing in one sitting, please.