Bread and bread dough always seemed very complicated to me. Loads of kneading, hours of rising, then knocking it down etc, seemed a bit too much for my liking.
Only recently , after watching one of the BBC baking shows, I have decided to face my nemesis, and give it another go.
Bread seemed all complicated and time consuming..and in reality it turned out to be a piece of cake..(or a piece of bread,should I say? 😉 )
This recipe is a basic,simple white loaf recipe. It’s very versatile, and you can change it any way you like it, add nuts,seeds,seasonings,herbs, take your pick.
Once you have mastered the white loaf- the world’s your oyster, you can experiment with bread all you like.
Another good thing about this dough-is that you can make it exactly the same as the bread dough,knead,let it rise etc, and then instead of letting it proof in a loaf tin, roll it out and use it as a pizza base. I’ve tried and tested both, and they’re bulletproof.
for a small bread or 2large pizza bases(for a large bread and 3 large pizza bases use 750g of flour,10,5g yeast,double the oil,salt and water as well as the sugar).
500g of plain,white flour
7g of dried active yeast
2 tsp of salt
3 tbsp of oil, vegetable,sunflower etc.
about 300ml of warm water
1 tsp of sugar
1) put the warm(not too hot,important,as it will kill the yeast if too hot) water into a glass or a bowl,add the sugar and the yeast.Stir and let it stand for about 5min , until it’s foamy and smells very yeasty. The yeast needs to foam up-then you know it’s alive.If the yeast doesn’t foam,it’s still and you can’t hear it hissing when you put your ear to the glass- it’s dead,probably the water was too hot.Start again.
2) after the yeast is foamed up, mix your flour,salt and oil in a large mixing bowl.You can sift the flour,but I honestly don’t bother with that step. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients, then pour in the water with the foamy yeast. mix with your hand until its starting to come together, then start kneading-about 15min by hand should be enough. You can use a standing mixer with a dough hook as well.
3) after 15min of kneading in the bowl,the dough should be pretty smooth and elastic. Then tip it out onto a slightly floured surface and knead hard for about 10minutes. This stage is pretty important as you stretch the gluten in the flour while kneading the dough and stretching it on you counter top,so don’t be shy with it. It’s a good workout too, so don’t be afraid to break a sweat;)
4) after 10min of kneading & stretching, place the dough into a clean,oiled bowl, and wrap with cling film. let the dough rise for about 1,5hours.
5) after the dough is doubled in size take it out of the bowl gently,tip it onto your counter and gently knock the air out of the dough. this might seem strange,but that’s how it works,so don’t question,just do it 😉 after you’ve knocked the air out (gently) and the dough seems rather flat, take the longer end and roll it into a rugby ball shape,don’t knead anymore,just roll it tightly,tuck the ends in, and place into a greased loaf tin, cover with a cloth and let it proof for another 30min.
6) preheat the oven to 220C fan, remove the cloth from the bread.it should be slightly risen back up. Now you have a few options-you can just score the top,and leave it as it is,lightly flour it, or brush it with beaten egg white and sprinkle with various seeds-that’s up to you.
7) place the bread in the middle of the oven, and splash about 100ml of room temperature water into the oven-it will create some steam and the bread will cook better,it won’t dry out. quickly close the oven door and let it back for 30min.
8) tip the bread out from the tin while still hot,tap the bottom with your fingers-if it sounds hollow-it’s ready 😉 enjoy!
Now,if you want to make pizza-make the dough exactly the same,let it rise until doubled in size, then knock the air down,roll out with a rolling pin or handle in your hands until it’s thin enough,then place onto a baking tray,lined with baking paper form a round shape, top with sauce and your favourite ingredients-bake in 220C until golden- about 15-20min,times may vary depending on the oven,so keep an eye on it.
This dough would also be great for making calzones, so give it a go, hope you like it, here’s some of my results: a traditional scored loaf with sesame seeds,a white,floured loaf and a pizza, enjoy & a very happy new year to you all 😉–