DIY or Die: Bread
Baking bread is one of those basic things I think everyone should know how to do, and it’s far from the dark art it’s made out to be. Free yourself from tasteless and expensive mass produced loaves with countless agents, treatments and whatever else in them by making your own.
This is a basic bread recipe, but you can adapt it to do anything you like. Just change the quantities in proportion for more/less, add seeds, herbs, veg and nuts to the mixture, or just shape it differently at the end to achieve what you want, use your imagination...
You will need:
300ml warm water
2 tsp oil (optional)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp quick yeast
- Combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, yeast) in a big bowl.
- Make a big hole in the middle of the flour and pour in the water and oil.
- Gradually combine everything together with your hands. It will get sticky, and your hands will get covered, but persevere and as soon as everything is combined, knead for about 10 minutes. If it’s too dry or wet, add a little more water or flour as appropriate.
- Transfer the dough to another, lightly oiled, container and put it somewhere warm for about an hour, until it’s doubled in size
- After the hour is up, get your dough out and knead for another 10 minutes.
- Now put the dough in either a lightly oiled loaf tin, on a baking tray or however you want your bread to end up. If you’re making flatbreads, skip to #7, otherwise let the dough rise in situ for another half an hour.
- Put the bread into a pre-heated oven at about 200Oc. A loaf will usually take about 20-30 minutes. You can tell when it’s done by tapping the bottom: it will sound hollow when you’re ready. Then just leave it to cool, if you’re patient enough that is.
The best flour to use is a strong bread flour, but you can use pretty much whatever flour or combinations of flours you like or can get hold of (except self-raising) to make the bread taste and feel how you like.