Monday, 17 September 2012

WHITE LOAF

Thought I’d kick off the blog with my favourite ever recipe, and one which sort of explains the blog title too. When I did food technology at school every week, without fail, we’d make bread and so I’d come home with loafs upon loafs, and sometimes crazy shapes to make them look different each week. That explains the ‘bread boy’. The second part is simpler and more underwhelming; I’m ginger. Anyway, bread really is one of the easiest, yet most rewarding things to make and if I could do it as a 14 year old boy, chances are so can you.

500g strong white bread flour
1 heaped tsp salt
1 sachet action dry yeast
A knob of butter, room temp
Around 300ml warm water

Put the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl, keeping the salt and yeast separate so that the yeast doesn’t die. Mix in the butter and slowly begin to add the water, until you get a rough sticky dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead for around 10 minutes, pushing the dough away from you whilst folding it in on itself. Once the dough is smooth, soft and slowly springs back when touched, form into a ball and place into a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film that has been rubbed with oil and leave to rise in a warm place for around an hour. Next to a radiator, in the sun or the airing cupboard are my favourite rising places.

Once the dough has doubled in size, take your fist and punch the dough to release the air. Knead once more for a couple of minutes then shape into an oval. Transfer to a baking sheet, cover with the same cling film then leave to rise once more for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size again.

Within this time preheat the oven at fan 200°/220°c/7, putting a small, empty baking tray in the bottom. Once the dough has risen, carefully rub with flour and slash with a sharp knife, diagonally across the top. Add cold water to the empty baking tray to create steam which allows the bread to rise before forming a crust.

Bake the bread for around 30 minutes, or until golden brown and the bottom sounds hallow when tapped.

Spruce it up

Not that a white loaf really needs any sprucing, but if you fancy a change, here are some ideas.

Rosemary Bread- take three large springs of fresh rosemary and finely chop the needles. Mix half in with the flour and use the other half sprinkled on the surface when kneading. That way the rosemary is well dispersed and you can see it when the bread is baked.

Salt and Pepper Bread- beat one egg and extremely generously add ground black and white pepper, about a teaspoon. Glaze this over the risen bread just before it goes in the oven and whilst sticky, cover once more with freshly ground pepper and salt. This bread has a crust with a kick.




































I made basic white, rosemary and salt and pepper in mini versions, just by splitting the dough in three after kneading.

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