Baking bread is really, really easy………when you know how.
Baking is a wee bit of an exact science which is why I tended to stay away from it, that and the fact that I’m lazy and slap-dash when it comes to following recipes. I only started baking bread about a year ago and my first offerings where utterly rubbish fit only for the bin or possibly throwing at the police during a riot.!! But with time and experience you do learn to feel what you’re doing – it sounds a bit ‘Jedi’ but baking is all about feel, the more you do it the better you get at feeling what is right and wrong.
This recipe is fail safe and makes a fairly impressive beginner loaf. After this is cracked you can start mucking around with weird grains and artisan loaves – like Guinness and Fish finger Bread!……..not really.
500 grams strong bread flour (MUST be strong bread flour)
10 grams of fast yeast
10 grams salt
300 grams warm water (weighing is more accurate)
Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a deep bowl
Mix the yeast with the water, then add to the flour mix
Bring the mixture together first with a fork then get your mits in and get a dough ball going, turn this out onto a floured board and begin kneading. It’s important to stretch the dough so pull it away from you when kneading in order to get the gluten going in the flour – 10minutes of this at least.
After this form the dough into a ball, it should feel really smooth (if it isn’t then keep kneading) and springy. Bop this back in the bowl and leave for about 1 hr to rise:
After the dough has risen, knock it back (hit it hard and knock the air out) then form it into what ever shape you fancy – in this case I’ve made a great big ball and cut 4 slashes into the top…..cos it looks pretty 🙂 Leave it to prove for about 20minutes (ie 2nd rise).
Bake this is in a really hot oven, as high as yours will go. This will take around 25-35minutes but that’ll depend on your oven, the alignment of the planets and your general mood so keep an eye on it. You’ll know it’s done when you tap the the underside and it sounds hollow.
Now make a ham sandwich.