For me bread making is one of the most satisfying of downshifting practices, cheap and easy and so rewarding. Apart from the baking the preperation takes no longer than a trip to the local shop, where the choice of loaves is a sorry sight. There is nothing like pulling out a hot loaf from the oven, as you can tell I love to make bread.
Here is a recipe for a standard wholemeal loaf.
1kg wholemeal flour
packet of dried yeast
2 tea spoons brown sugar
750ml warm water
Place the warm water into a mixing bowl and add the yeast and leave untill you see it start to develop tiny bubbles, this takes about 5 – 10 mins depending on the temperature of the room.
While you are waiting in a measuring bowl measure out all the other ingredients.
Then it’s the fun part when the yeast is ready add the flour etc to the mixing bowl and get your hands in mixing it up, when it starts to bind together tip it out onto a floured serface and knead it, which means fold it and squash it for about 5 mins.
Place back in the bowl cover with a damp tea towel place in a warm place and wait untill it has doubled in size, this can take a while. When its double the size knead again then seperate into two equal pieces and place each one into a greased bread tray. Cover with the tea towel again and leave to rise.
When it’s double the size again place into a pre heated oven at 200 oC for about 30 mins, but you can keep checking after 15 mins. When it looks ready take one out turn it over and tap the bottom, if it sounds hollow it’s ready.
Leave to cool, then eat. Your first loaf will be gone in about half an hour!
Now this will get you started, however I don’t stick to this. I never measure anything any more. If it’s your first time try halfing the wholemeal flour with plain flour, as this will mean it is certain to rise fully, when you have done it a few times you will get a feel for it. You can use fresh yeast which I get free from Asda, in which case you need a piece about the size of a stock cube.
I often add pumpkin, sunflower and poppy seeds and a good glug of olive oil. but I could not tell you how much, just experiment.