Wednesday, May 10, 2006

White Bread Recipe

Today we made white bread. Usually I bake Rye bread, as a healthy alternative and keep the white bread for high days and holidays, so a mid-week baking, brought on by running out of rye flour and hungry children devouring the last loaf at lunchtime, was a treat for the children. When I make white bread I give them each some dough to make themselves a roll for the next day. Better than play-dough cos you get to eat the result. We get some pretty weird shaped rolls emerging from the kitchen but they are yummy Mummy! Proudly the kids take them off to school for snack-time and even eat the crusts.

This recipe is the easiest way to start out on bread-making, the simplest form of bread there is.

White bread recipe

1kg white bread flour
15g instant yeast
1 tablespoon salt
about 700ml water

You need a large bowl or you can heap the flour onto a clean surface and make a well for the water. I use a bowl and mix the flour and salt, make a well for the yeast, then pour the water in gradually stirring with a knife. Once it has formed a dough, tip it out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, sprinkling on more flour as you go when it gets too sticky.

Knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it away with the heel of the other, fold it back on itself and repeat. It will start off sticky and lumpy and gradually become smooth. After 10 minutes it should rise up again if you dent it with your finger. Put it in the bowl again, cover with a plastic bag or cloth and leave in a warm place for an hour and a half till it has doubled in size.

Knock it down - squash all the air out of it again- then shape into two loaves, can be round, long, plaited or sculptural! Leave to rise again for 3/4 of an hour, again covering with a plastic bag or cloth, then bake at 200C/400F for 30 minutes. (If the kids make small rolls they'll be done sooner, check after 15 mins).

The great thing about bread is that it'll be edible even if you overbake it, just crustier. My only failure with this recipe was the first time I made it, when I made one huge loaf with this quantity and the centre was a bit underdone, but even then we could eat the rest of it.

Cool it on a wire rack and try not to scoff the lot while it is still warm...

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