This lockdown has REALLY taught us that we can do a lot more than we ever thought we could do – especially in the kitchen. We’ve created tasty sandwiches and delicious dinners, we’ve baked cakes; so what other challenges could there be? Well, I always thought the ultimate challenge in home cooking and baking was – making your own bread; and I certainly never tried because fresh bread was so easily obtainable.
Now, things have changed, though; the supermarkets have stopped selling ‘real’ bread, and there’s no bakery close to us – and my craving for some fresh, crispy bread instead of the boring, limp sliced bread we’ve had for months now got bigger and bigger. So I finally did it, dear friends – I had a go at bread making!
I’ve always been a bit wary of any recipes including yeast; but of course, for baking a really good bread you have to use yeast. Just make sure all the other ingredients (in this case basically just the water) are at room temperature, not any colder!
The ingredients for a regular sized loaf of bread are:
500g flour (ordinary flour will do, it doesn’t have to be bread flour!), 1tsp yeast powder, 1 dash salt, oil
Pour 350ml water from the tap and leave to warm up to room temperature (or warm it up a bit on the hub, but not too much). When it’s warm enough, stir the yeast powder into it.
Add the salt to the flour in a big bowl, then slowly add the water with the yeast. Only use a hand mixer for this if you’ve got dough hooks; otherwise, use a cooking spoon! When a nice, strong dough is formed, cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rest for 15 minutes in a warm place without any draught (the best place is your oven, without switching it on).
Take the dough out of the bowl and put it on a clean surface with some flour spread on it; knead it there with your hands for at least 6-7 minutes, turning it around again and again.
Then, put the dough ball back into the bowl, cover again and leave in the same warm spot for another hour. During this time, the dough should double in size!
Oil a baking tin and preheat the oven to 200°C. Press the dough into the tin and bake it for 30-35 minutes until it’s golden brown.
Now, all you have to do is wait until it cools down a bit, and then you can cut it up and enjoy with whichever topping you like!
I must say I felt really proud when I watched that loaf of bread rising in the oven; it IS easy to make your own bread – you should give it a go, dear friends, it’s really a cinch!