Making Bread and a sandwich tea party…

It was late in the afternoon for bread making but I decided that I would make it anyway. As it happened it was perfect timing to be on the table for tea time…crusty, not too hot to slice and smelling absolutely gorgeous.

We had ourselves a sandwich party. I laid everything on the table for making our own sandwiches, from cheese and ham to eggs and salad. All I have to say about that was, WOW! I didn’t know little people could eat so much!

So getting on to making bread, here’s my recipe. A couple of years ago I spent weeks upon end adjusting this recipe to get it just right. We had airy fairy loaves and brick loaves but here it is just for you, what I call my perfect loaf because it’s just the way we like it. I hope you make some so that you can enjoy it too.

11 1/2 fl oz hand hot water(not too hot or it will kill the yeast)

1lb 3oz strong white bread flour, and a little more for dusting

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbl sp granulated sugar

1 oz butter

1 tsp easy blend dried yeast (found in little sachets at the supermarket)

1 tbl sp dried milk powder

You could use a bread maker if you want to make it easier. Follow the instructions in your manual for the order in which the ingredients are added (usually liquids first).

To make by hand, put the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Make five indents around the top, one for each of the other ingredients. Measure out each ingredient into an indent. Take a large wooden spoon and keep stirring from the centre. The liquid should lap up the sides of the flour and eventually all the other ingredients. You will have a ball of dough.

Tip onto a table top and bash the living daylights out of it, sorry did I say that right? Knock it about like you hate it, take out all your frustrations. Go ahead and beat it into next year. This is bread, the more you beat it up the better it will be so go for it! Keep doing this for about 15 mins until it’s smooth and strechy-it’s a great upper body work out isn’t it ;-D

Cover with greased clingfilm then leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.

Pre-heat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas Mark 8

Knead again for about 5 mins. The hard work is done now. Shape into a loaf and put into 1 lb bread tin or make it into a fancy shape. For this you will need a floured baking sheet *

*For a plaited loaf divide into three, roll each into a long sausage shape. Pinch the ends of them together at one end then, plait. Pinch at the other, et voila!

*You could make a cottage loaf  by dividing the mixture into two, one a little larger than the other.  Place the smaller piece on the top of the larger one then poke a floured finger down through the centre to secure them together.

* At this point I have also veered off and made pizza. Make into a pizza shape then leave for a further 10 mins before you throw the toppings on.

Put the oiled clingfilm back over the bread and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Take off the clingfilm then put it into the hot oven and bake for 20-25 mins. Check that it’s cooked by tapping the underneath. It should sound hollow.

Place onto a wire rack and leave to cool. Ward off ravenous children!

bread

Making bread is fun but you do need to know some things about the ingredients, you may be lucky or it’s a definite fail i’m afraid:

The flour that you use must be strong plain flour. It contains more gluten which for us non scientists means that the dough gets more elastic and not brick bread when it’s finished! There are lots of different types out there which you can try but be aware, if you use wholemeal etc.  that it takes a little more water than white flour does.

The sugar is ordinary granulated sugar the type most people put in their cup of tea. Other sugar can be used to give a slightly different flavour. Sugar is food for yeast, you could reduce it if you wanted but expect a longer wait for rising time.

Butter or cooking margarine can be used for bread. I use olive oil for pizza but I find any of the three will work just fine.

Yeast can be found in packets at the supermarket. Don’t use old yeast or the bread may not rise. Keep it away from the salt and sugar until it gets all mixed together.

Salt is needed in bread for flavour and it strengthens the gluten protein in the dough. Without it you will have very airy and holey bread. It also helps the bread to brown. If you reduce the salt, look out for huge air pockets in your dough, you may want to reduce the rising time to prevent this.

Water needs to be warm, not hot (If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast)

Milk powder isn’t a necessary ingredient. I use it because it gives the bread a nicer texture and I think it helps to keep the bread fresh.

All that said, go on-get in there and give it a bash! *Uhhhh bad joke*

 

bread

You can see that my bread is tall and the tin was square. I decided to cut the top off and slice it, top down and it made fab square sandwiches that cut into neat little triangles. Mmmmmm, happy bread making.

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