Our dear old Volvo Estate died (completely and utterly) a few days ago just before we were due to do our weekly shop. As it is about an hour's bus ride to the supermarket (not that it's that far, just the bus goes through all the villages; after about 20 minutes in one direction I see a road sign saying 1 mile to my village!) so we’ve been eating up everything in the house. We ran out of bread and so I whipped some up. No big deal; I have spent great swathes of my life making my own bread but it occurred to me that it was so easy peasy I might as well pass it on. So here it is …
Easy Basic Bread Recipe
My real man gave me a Kenwood stand mixer for Christmas last year and with that making bread is even easier and less messy but it’s really not a problem the old fashioned way either.
500g strong bread flour
(I used 400g white and 100g wholemeal)
1 7g sachet of easy blend yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp olive oil
about 350ml lukewarm water
~ Mix all the dried ingredients either on low in the mixer or just stir it all up.
~ Slowly mix in the oil and water till you have a soft manageable dough. Either mix on low in the mixer for 3 or 4 minutes or turn out onto a floured board and knead till the dough is smooth and elastic.
~ Place in a lightly greased bowl and then put a plastic bag over it. Leave in a warm place for about 40 minutes till doubled in size.
~ Munge about a bit to “knock down”, ie. knock the air out of it, and form into a loaf either in a greased loaf tin or freeform on a greased baking sheet. Leave in the warm to rise again.
~ After 20 minutes preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC/Gas 5 and place a roasting pan in the bottom.
~ When the load has doubled in size again sprinkle and lightly rub with a little flour and, using a sharp knife, cut a few decorative slashes.
~ Put the loaf in the oven and pour a cup or two of cold water into the roasting pan.
~ Bake for about 30 minutes till risen and golden and, thanks to the steam from the roasting pan, lovely and crusty. It is fully cooked when it sounds hollow when wrapped on the bottom.
~ Cool for as long as you can stand it then slice and eat slathered with butter and sprinkled with crunchy sea salt. Mmm.
NOTE: Making one’s own bread is not economical because everyone eats loads with an excess of butter.
After the first rising of the dough I pinched off a small piece and pushed it out into a thin round(ish) pizza base on a baking sheet. Whilst the bread was baking I roasted a dish of butternut squash, red onion and chilli flakes alongside it and then for dinner I had a pizza. I lightly spread the dough round with Cherry Tree Spicy Red Onion Marmalade, topped with the butternut squash mix and scattered bits of Boursin over it. WARNING this is so delicious..
Today my friend next door and I went to a craft fair at Wheal Martyn China Clay Museum and Country Park which has these lovely statues outside
… followed by a car boot sale in
saw this fabulous tree stump carving.
Just look at it; Neptune and all his sea citizens.
Brilliant – the little box on the left is collecting money for the local
children’s hospice. Charlestown