Saturday June 14 2014

Have fun baking your own bread


There is nothing like freshly baked homemade bread, and baking it is a lot easier than you may think! The basic ingredients – flour, yeast, salt and water, are easily available. You may also add a little sugar if you like your bread sweet and enrich your bread with some butter or margarine and milk, as in this recipe, which makes two loaves or 15 buns.

1kg wheat flour
100g butter/margarine, softened
2 tsp salt A little extra butter/margarine
2 tsp dried yeast A little extra flour
About 750ml tepid milk or a few drops more
You will need:
Two 20 by 10cm (8 by 4 inch) loaf tins, or
A large baking tray, if making buns.

1. Grease two loaf tins or a baking tray if making buns and put the flour and salt into a large bowl.

2. Dissolve the yeast in the milk and leave it in a warm place for about 15 mins, then pour it into the flour and salt. Work in the butter or margarine to make a sticky dough. (Add a few extra drops of tepid milk if dough is too dry.)
3. Turn dough out on to a clean, flat, floured surface and knead vigorously for 10-15 minutes. Or until it is elastic, smooth and glossy. The dough should be firm, so add a little more flour if necessary.

4. Put dough into a large, clean, dry bowl, cover with a polythene sheet and leave to rise until doubled in bulk. This may take between 1½ - 2½ hours. The dough is ready when a finger pressed into it leaves a dent which does not immediately smooth itself out.

5. If making two loaves, divide dough into two portions and mould each into a cylindrical (sausage) shape, the same length as the tins, and put into each tin, to make two loaves. Cover with clean dish cloths and leave to rise to the rims of the tins. If making buns, divide dough into 15 portions, roll into balls and space on the greased baking tray, until doubled in bulk. Meanwhile, turn the oven on to 230 C/450 F/ gas mark 8.

6. Brush each loaf or bun with a little melted butter/margarine just before baking. Bake loaves for about 45 minutes. and buns for about 20 minutes. The bread is ready when golden-brown or when loaves sounds hollow, when rapped with the knuckles. Cool on a wire rack before slicing or storing.