Sim­ply bread

Learn to make a ba­sic loaf with these step-by-step recipes, then v Ü ÕÀ Ã >«i > ` y>Û ÕÀ ÌÜ ÃÌÃ Ì VÀi>Ìi i ` iÃÃ Û>À >Ì Ã

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Brown loaf

Makes 1 Prep 20 mins plus 2 hrs ris­ing Cook 30 mins £1.39 a loaf Per slice 91 kcals, 1g fat, 0g sat. fat, 1g sugar

400g malted grain brown bread flour, whole­meal flour or gra­nary bread flour 100g strong white bread flour 7g sa­chet easy-bake dried yeast (or 2 tsp quick dried yeast) 1 tbsp but­ter, soft­ened 4 tbsp mixed seeds, such as lin­seed, pump­kin, sesame or sun­flower, plus ex­tra for sprin­kling (op­tional)

1 Mix your choice of brown flour with the white bread flour, yeast and 11/ tsp salt in a bowl. Rub the but­ter into the flour, then stir in the seeds (if us­ing). Make a dip in the cen­tre of the flour, pour in al­most 300ml luke­warm wa­ter and bring to­gether with a round­bladed knife. Mix in some more wa­ter, if needed, to gather up any dry bits at the bot­tom of the bowl un­til the mix­ture comes to­gether as a soft, not too sticky dough. Gather it into a ball with your hands.

2 Tip the dough onto a lightly floured sur­face and knead un­til smooth and elas­tic, about 8-10 mins. Add ex­tra flour if needed to pre­vent the dough stick­ing, but keep to a min­i­mum. Cover with an up­turned glass bowl and leave for 45 mins-1 hr or un­til dou­bled in size and light and springy – tim­ing will de­pend on how warm the room is.

3 Lightly knead the dough 3 or 4 times to knock out any large air bub­bles – any more and the dough will lose its light­ness. Roll into a ball, then cover again with the glass bowl for 15 mins.

4 Grease a 1.2-litre loaf tin and line the base with bak­ing parch­ment. Use your knuck­les to flat­ten the dough into a rec­tan­gle about 25 x 19cm. Fold the shorter ends into the cen­tre like an en­ve­lope, make a turn, then flat­ten again to the same size and roll up very tightly, start­ing from one of the short ends. Roll the top in some seeds, place the dough in the tin with the join un­der­neath, then press the seeds gen­tly in. Cover with a clean, dry tea towel and leave for 40- 45 mins, or un­til risen about 5cm above the top of the tin.

5 Put a roast­ing tin in the bot­tom of the oven 20 mins be­fore ready to bake, and heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put the risen bread in the oven, care­fully pour about 250ml cold wa­ter into the roast­ing tin (this will cre­ate a burst of steam to give you a crisp crust), then lower the heat to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake for about 30 mins or un­til golden, cov­er­ing with foil for the last 5 mins if the loaf is brown­ing too quickly. Leave in the tin for 2-3 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. If you tap the un­der­neath of the baked loaf if should be firm and sound hol­low.

White loaf

Makes 1 Prep 20 mins plus 2 hrs ris­ing Cook 30 mins 50p a loaf Per slice 92 kcals, 1g fat, 1g sat. fat, 1g sugar

500g strong white bread flour 7g sa­chet easy-bake dried yeast (or 2 tsp quick dried yeast) 1 tbsp soft but­ter

1 Mix the flour, yeast and 11/ tsp salt in a bowl, then rub the but­ter into the flour. Make a dip in the cen­tre of the flour, pour in al­most 300ml luke­warm wa­ter and bring to­gether with a round-bladed knife. Mix in some wa­ter, if needed, to gather up any dry bits at the bot­tom of the bowl, un­til the mix­ture comes to­gether as a soft, not too sticky dough. Gather it into a ball with your hands.

2 Tip the dough onto a lightly floured sur­face and knead un­til smooth and elas­tic, about 8-10 mins. Add ex­tra flour if needed to pre­vent the dough stick­ing, but keep to a min­i­mum. Cover with an up­turned glass bowl and leave for 45 mins-1 hr or un­til dou­bled in size and light and springy – tim­ing will de­pend on how warm the room is.

3 Lightly knead the dough 3 or 4 times to knock out any large air bub­bles – any more and the dough will lose its light­ness. Cut the dough into 2 sep­a­rate pieces with a sharp knife – one should be roughly dou­ble the size of the other. Shape both pieces into balls, then cover again with the glass bowl and leave for 10 mins.

4 Now, shape into a cot­tage loaf. Put the larger ball on a bak­ing sheet lined with bak­ing parch­ment. Sit the smaller ball on top of the larger one. Dip your fin­ger in some flower (so that it doesn’t stick), then press down through the cen­tre of the smaller ball right into the larger one to at­tach it. Dust the top of the loaf with a lit­tle flour, then cover with a clean, dry tea towel and leave for 40- 45 mins, or un­til roughly dou­bled in size.

5 Put a roast­ing tin in the bot­tom of the oven 20 mins be­fore ready to bake, and heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put the risen bread in the oven, care­fully pour about 250ml cold wa­ter into the roast­ing tin (this will cre­ate a burst of steam to give you a crisp crust), then lower the heat to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bake for 30-35 mins or un­til golden. Re­move from the oven, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. If you tap the un­der­neath of the loaf, if should be firm and sound hol­low.

Turn over the page for simple ways to tart up each of these simple loafs

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