Bread – Easy as One, Two, Three

Nothing tastes or smells better than homemade bread.

Bonus: Bread can be frozen really easily so you can batch make bread and have some to eat all week.

Bread is basically always made in the same way following some simple but basic rules

Yeast

Fresh yeast can be found in supermarkets. I would always advise using fresh yeast if possible. I have always found a less yeasty taste with fresh yeast.

HOWEVER I always have some dried yeast in the cupboard in case I have a sudden desire for bread ! It is always important with yeast to mind the best before dates, this is one case where I follow precisely otherwise you end up with flat bread !

Water
Water must be tepid.

To get the perfect temperate boil 1/3 of the required amount. Now conplete with 2/3 of cold water and you’ll have just the perfect temperature.

  1. Preparation: Break up the yeast in the water and prepare the other ingredients
  2. Mix: In a bowl mix together the flour and salt. Then add the yeast mixture and mix until it is no longer sticky.
  3. Kneading: Now knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. If you are lucky enough to have a mixer then be careful to knead with the hook attachment and no more than speed 1
  4. 1st proof: Place the dough in a salad bowl and cover with a humid teatowel in a small warm place. Do not put it near direct heat ie a radiator. Depending on the bread we are making the time required varies.
  5. Knock back: Now you need to knead (English can be funny) the dough a second times for about 1 or 2 minutes. You can then form the shape of the bread you want and leave it to rise a second time for around 30 minutes.
  6. Baking: Preheat the over to around 220C, place a bowl of water to create a little bit of steam. Sometimes I wait for the over to heat then throw in a small glass of water to create the steam just before adding the dough.

Once the bread is cooked leave it to cool on a cooling rack. Eating hot bread is not good for you (or so they say in France to children going to get fresh baked bread from the boulangerie. Surely an urban legend to ensure the bread comes back whole !

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