Is it worth making my own bread at home?

If you are reading this, you probably have some interest in cooking and eating well at home, and the title of this post is a common question for anyone who enjoys decent bread…and the answer is a whopping YES! It is worth it.

Good bread is so expensive to buy in the shops, so why not be a bit kinder on your wallet and make your own! Your body will thank you too as you will be reducing the salt content and avoid consuming any bleached flour, often found in shop bought white bread. Plus you know exactly what is going into making it, which is a great feeling. I promise this recipe will deliver yummy, healthy and enormously satisfying bread with minimal effort.

I know what you’re thinking…I haven’t got time! Well, I admit you need to give a bit of love in order to make bread, but the actual “kitchen time” isn’t that much, you just need to be in the house…we usually get busy with other projects between proving and cooking times. We have memorised this recipe (it’s very easy!) and make it once a week without fail, usually on a slow Sunday morning. In fact, we haven’t bought any bread for a few months now! Simple, cheap and delicious!

For us, it is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things we make in the kitchen, there is just something special about homemade bread…Enjoy!

Ingredients to make one large loaf:

20 grams of dried yeast or 30 grams of fresh yeast

600 millilitres of warm water

1 kg of good quality brown flour

½ tablespoon of fine sea salt

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

 

Mixing: Fill a measuring jug with the warm water and add your yeast, sugar and salt. Give it a good stir and leave it for 5 minutes or so.

We don’t go in for worktop mixing as we find it a little messy, so into a large mixing bowl, empty the bag of flour and make a well in the middle. Add the oil and then slowly add the water while mixing with a large fork. Try to keep the water in the centre of the well and mix well while adding water until everything is together. Different flours absorb liquid differently, so don’t hesitate to add more or use less water as required. Don’t be shy, this part is just about bringing everything together slowly.

Kneading: You should now have a nice dough in the bowl. Pour the contents of the bowl onto a clean surface and knead, roll and generally pull it around on your surface for about 10 minutes. Then put the round ball of dough into a mixing bowl with a bit of olive oil around to stop it sticking.

First prove: Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or cling film and place in a warm place with no draught for about 30-40 minutes until it has doubled in size.

Second prove: Remove the dough and throw it onto the worktop, knock the air out of it by squashing it between your hands. This is where you can add seeds if you like, we usually put in a handful of sesame or sunflower seeds. It is important you don’t play with it too much now, so just knock it into shape and place it into a floured bread tin. Now leave it for its second prove for around 50 minutes.

Cooking: You should now have your dough looking ready to cook, so put your tin into a pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes. To check it’s done, remove from the tin and it will sound hollow when tapped with your finger on the underside.

Rest the loaf on a baking rack or upside down bread tin for around 30 minutes and enjoy!

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