Wednesday 26 March 2008

Home Made Bread

I started making my own bread just over a year ago. It was with great trepidation that I undertook what I thought was going to be a mammoth task doomed to failure. There was of course a few hiccups along the way (when is there not?) Now I rarely buy bread. For those of you who are a bit afraid to try don't be. A 'feel 'for the dough comes with practice. I don't have a bread maker and love to knead by hand but for speed I use a food processor which literally takes one minute. It's a good thing to make if you are at home for the day as you can leave it to rise and get on with other things. I have tried all sorts of yeasts and I have found as good results come from the fast yeast, sold in little envelopes, as any other yeast. Just throw the contents into your flour and away you go. I don't believe in complicating life unnecessarily.
My advice, to anyone starting for the first time, is to make a basic white loaf. When you get the feel for that, most other bread is a variation of the same theme. I have trouble with wholemeal flour as it does not rise as well as white and no matter what combinations and methods I have tried it still produces a loaf with a denseness I dislike. I like brown bread and have found a way round this problem by using white flour and adding bran. Basically bran is what is taken away from the wheat to give white flour. In a way you are just putting it back and going a roundabout way to make a wholemeal loaf. I don't know why it works better this way all I know is it does and produces a very nice wee loaf.

Don't use flour to knead. Oil your work top and hands . The dough won't stick to you and everything else.

Unless you want to do overnight rises in the fridge the dough likes warmth to rise. For those living in colder climates, turn the oven on at it's lowest point when starting to weigh out the ingredients and make the bread. Turn the oven off and put your dough in there covered with cling film to rise. After the first rise turn the oven on to reach baking temperature and set the proving loaves on the hob where it will get warmth from the oven. I have found this gives excellent results.

Before baking sprinkle quite a lot of flour over the top of the loaf. It gives a nicer crust

When the bread is baked and turned out on the cooling rack, cover with a slightly damp tea towel. This produces a soft crust.

Maple Syrup Brown Bread.

This evolved in my kitchen and I make it all the time now. Really easy. Gives a brown loaf without the density of wholemeal flour and is delicious. I have taken to using maple syrup as it gives a lovely flavour but feel free to use honey or just sugar or neither as you prefer.

You can also add a good handful of seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin whatever your preference.

600g/1lb.6oz white bread flour
200g/7oz bran
2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 teasp salt
1 pkt 7g rapid/easy blend yeast
400mls/14fl ozs approx. of warm water (Add any extra in very small amounts)
Oil for kneading

2 x2lb loaf tins greased and floured

Mix flour bran salt yeast together in a bowl
Add the maple syrup and and the water
Mix together until a nice soft dough (you may have to add a little more water but do so a very little at a time)
Oil the work top and your hands
Knead the dough for ten mins by hand or knead for one minute in the food processor with plastic blade
Form into a ball and return to the bowl.
Cover bowl in clingfilm and leave somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size-about an hour.
Knock back by punching the dough in the bowl.
Pull out onto the oiled work top and divide in two
Form each piece into a long loaf shape. While moulding stretch a little across the top surface to create a little tension
Place each loaf in the prepared tins . Dust with flour and cover with a tea towel
Leave to rise again for about half an hour.
Pre heat oven to200.C ,Fan 180.C, Gas 6, 400.F
When the loaves have risen again bake for 30-40 mins. they should tap hollow on the underside when baked.
Remove from tins and leave on a cooling rack. If a softer crust is desired cover with a teatowel

Cheesy Cob Loaf

This is a lovely light savoury bread. Nice for dunking in stews or with spag. bol .Makes lovely toast. Very easy and idiot proof.
I used mature cheddar cheese but any hard cheese of your choice would do.
I also use English mustard for it's strength but any mustard would do if English is not an option.
Make sure the dough is not too dry as the gluten absorbs water during the kneading stage.

450gms strong white flour
1 1/2 teasps salt
25gms diced butter
2 teasps easy blend yeast
85gms Mature cheddar finely grated (or other hard cheese)
2 teasps mustard powder or 1 teasp of made mustard
a good few grinds of black pepper
About 300mls of warm milk plus a little for glazing
Sesame seeds for sprinkling on top (optional)

Put flour and salt in large bowl and mix together
Rub in butter
Stir in yeast cheese mustard and black pepper.
Add milk to form a soft dough more wet than dry.
Knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic
Shape into a round and place in bowl to rise to about double it's size covered with cling fim (about an hour n a warm place)
Punch your fist into the dough to knock back and pull it out of the bowl
Shape into a longish oval shape tucking down so the joins are on the underside and there is a little tension on the surface.
Place on prepared baking sheet give a good sprinkling of flour, cover with a tea towel and leave for 30 mins until risen again
Glaze with a little milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds or just sprinkle more flour over.
Make 3 diagonal slashes across the surface

Place in pre-heated oven 200.C ,Fan 180.C, Gas 6, 400.F for 35-45 mins until risen and golden and taps hollow underneath.
Transfer to wire rack to cool
If a soft crust is required cover with a tea towel

I divide this into two loaves as it is quite large.

The Biggest Hot Cross Bun

Easter is over and alas I did not get round to making any hot cross buns. Nikki posted this recipe on Vi's pantry for a Big Hot Cross Bun so I decided to give it a try. It is lovely and I will definitely make this again. No need to wait for Easter. Lovely toasted too. I was too lazy to make a cross for it but I did add a sugar glaze when it came out of the oven.

425g /1lb Strong plain white bread flour, plus 1 tbsp and extra for dusting
half tsp salt
50g /2ozbutter, cubed
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
1tsp mixed spice
50g/2oz light muscavado sugar
200g/7oz dried fruit
125ml /5 fl ozmilk, plus 1 tbsp for brushing
125ml/5fl oz boiling water

Put the flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs.
Stir in the yeast, then add the remaining ingredients*, except the milk.
Pour the 125ml milk into a jug and add 125ml boiling water.
Stir into the dough and mix until it comes together as a soft ball.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Form into a ball and put on a non-stick baking tray.
Leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size and feels very light and airy.
Preheat oven to 200.C ,Fan 180.C, Gas 6, 400.F

Brush the top of the bun with the remaining milk.
To make the cross, mix 1 tbsp plain flour and 1tbsp water to make a soft paste. Drizzle over to make the cross.
Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and the base of the bun sounds hollow.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Best eaten within 24 hours or, after that, toasted and spread with butter

Sugar glaze is made by dissolving 2 parts sugar in one part hot water.

Nikki's Tip
*I gently mixed the dried fruit in after the dough had risen, I personally prefer to do it that way, (I'm not sure if this makes a difference or not) but you don't have to if you'd prefer to mix it in at the start*


Oh my! Apple pie! said...

Brenda your bread looks great. I like baking bread but don't do it often enough to have the 'knack' for it. I shall try your ideas, especialy for the brown loaf.

Anonymous said...

My Mum said your bread looks oh so beautiful. What a clever lady that Granny is.

I think your bread looks lovely as well, especially the large Hot Cross Bun.


Nickki said...

Granny your bread looks absolutely beautiful.  The biggest hot cross bun is a fab recipe isn't it? And I found your tips when baking bread very helpful and I will definitely be trying them next time I make bread. Thank you so much xxxx

Rhyleysgranny said...

Thank you girls. Glad you like

Tina said...

Brenda, you are a bread expert in my opinion!

Tina xx

Kelly-Jane said...

I'm a bit scared of home made bread! Yours looks lovely.

Anonymous said...

Wow Brenda, your bread looks fabulous. I love baking bread but I'm nowhere near as confident as you.


Thinking About Food said...

You have inspired me Brenda, going to get off my chuff and bake bread this weekend!!!!!

hungryandfrozen said...

Your various breads look beautiful! I have made your Cheese Cobb loaf a couple of times now, it hasn't failed me ever. I like the idea of rising in a turned-off oven - will give that a go in winter when our student flat inevitably becomes the Icy Tundra...I also prove mine on top of the heated oven :) Ooh I want to bake bread now!

violets said...

Every single slice of your bread looks wonderful, you have turned into a master baker in only a year, fantastic.

Vi xx

Elle said...

Gorgeous breads! Absolutely beautiful.

Elle said...

Granny, you're famous! You've been stalked my chiff0nade, the blog troll. ;)

Rhyleysgranny said...

You are all so kind.
Elle thank you for dropping by.:)

Elle said...

Oops! BY, not my.

Anonymous said...

Chiffonade is not a troll. Her stalker Charles Treuter is though. He is the one posting as her here and at most food blogs.

The real Chiffonade is very nice and knowledgable.