Thursday, 22 January 2009

Our Daily Bread

How lovely, I was thinking to post this recipe, when I was just emailed and asked if I would, so Family Hornung, this is especially for you...I humbly present the Perfect Bread recipe:

(This makes two biggish loaves - all my tins are of various sizes, but I usually double the recipe and we end up with four different loaves - that's helpful, isn't it?)

Here we go:

75g oats - whatever kind take your fancy

25g sunflower seeds

500g strong white flour or granary flour

425g strong brown, or wholemeal (sometimes I mix various types of flours, in various quantities to make up the weight, without making the loaf too heavy - right now I'm really into Lidl's rye breadmix flour, and I just add about 225g of that and 200g wholemeal)

1 level tablespoon salt (or less, to your taste)

1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1 sachet fast action dried yeast

Mix all of this lot up in a big bowl, then add:

600ml tepid water (200ml boiling water + 400ml cold)

1-2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil

This is the messy part!

Mix it all up with a spoon as much as you can then sprinkle a clean surface with flour and have extra for hands etc. Tip the contents of the bowl out and knead for about 5 - 10 mins. Kneading is not very technical, in our house it is known as "Roll and Squish" - you get the idea. Knead until the dough is nice and smooth and not sticky. Then oil your loaf tins and divide the dough between them, punching it down into the corners:

Then sprinkle the top of each liberally with flour. My wee helper likes to make pretty patterns in the top using biscuit cutters. It's a good touch. Cover with cling film - the flour on the tops of the loaves stops it from sticking. Leave the bread in a warmish place for, oh, ages, (an hour or two - our house is not very warm!) until the dough has doubled in size. Meanwhile, have a cuppa, go for a walk, work, whatever...then stick the oven on. You want it nice and hot:

Gas Mark 8/230 C/450 F/200 Fan oven

Bake for 20 mins in a fan oven or 30 mins otherwise. It should be nicely browned on top, come out the tin easily and sound somewhat hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a rack covered with a teatowel (for a softer crust).

This freezes well and makes stupendous toast.

Breadmaking is one of my almost weekly joys; it's cheap, messy, fun and very satisfying for all concerned. And no-one ever says that they don't want to eat it - hurrah!

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