I have recently started baking bread at home and I cannot tell you how much happiness it gives me. What I love about making bread is that it is such a relaxing process that takes time and patience. It slows me down and gives me something simple to focus on when I feel overwhelmed. Plus the smell of freshly baked bread has to be one of the most homely things in the world!
So here is how I make my bread:
Soak 7g of dried yeast in 300ml of warm water to activate the yeast.
While the yeast is activating mix 500g of strong white bread flour with salt.
Push all the flour to the side of the bowl to make a little well in the middle.
Into the well, add 3 tablespoons of oil followed by the water with activated yeast.
Mix everything together.
Once the mixture is going stringy, pour onto a floured surface and kneed away for as long as you can but a minimum of 10 minutes.
When the dough ball is smooth, put it in a lightly oiled bowl and place a damp tea towel over it.
Leave it to rise until it has doubled in size (usually a few hours)
Punch the dough to release and air and then kneed again.
Place the dough on your baking tray or in a loaf tin and then leave to rise again. At this stage you can place it in an oven with hot water to help it along.
I then make a few lines with a knife to give it a bit of the wow factor!
Bake at around 180 degrees C for 30 minutes.
Allow the bread to cool for a minimum of 2 hours before cutting into it!