White bread

Honestly, don’t buy a breadmaker – just don’t 🙂 There is no way bread made out these contraptions taste ANYTHING (excuse shouting) like the real thing.

Here’s is the real thing…and it is simply unbeatable!

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Wot u need
1100g bread flour
10g white fat (or butter though butter will give the final bread a yellow colour)
15g salt
30g fresh yeast
700mls warm water

Wot u do
Making bread takes time – don’t rush it – enjoy the process and use the time in between to do other things – bread doesn’t need watched, so chill!

Put the flour into a bowl, add the salt and fat (no need to break up.) Dissolve the yeast in the water and add this to the flour mix. Using your hands, bring the mix together till you get a fairly basic sticky dough. Very lightly flour a surface, tip the bread mix out and start working it. There’s plenty of guidance on how to knead bread dough – check out YouTube – my preference is to use my right hand fingers to hold the dough and stretch it away from myself with the palm of my left hand until it tears (I’m left handed.) Bring the dough together and keep doing this for 15-20 minutes. (You could also use your mixer dough hook to do this stage. If you do this, use the paddle beater for one minute to mix ingredients then the hook on a medium-high speed for around 15 mins. Mix should pretty much come away from sides of bowl if it doesn’t add a very small amount of flour to achieve this.)

To tell if the dough is ready, tear off a small piece around 4cms. Stretch this piece between your fingers – if the dough becomes very thin and translucent and shows little sign of strands of fibrous dough then it’s ready Place the dough in a bowl which has been sprayed with 1cal oil and cover with a wet cloth or dish towel. Leave in a warmish room for 1 hour or longer and until it doubles in size (“bulk fermentation” stage.)dscf4441

Take the dough and ‘knock it back.’ This involves using your knuckles to punch the dough till it becomes rectangular in shape and around 2 cms in height. When you do this fold the dough into itself in thirds – so bring the bottom third on top and fold the top over. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat the process.dscf4442

Shape the dough into a tight ball and set aside for 15 mins to allow the dough to recover. Weigh into three pieces each of around 5o0g (don’t worry if you pull little pieces off and add them to the scales to get the correct weight.) Shape into a sausage shape – pinch the join and ensure it is at the bottom of the loaf tin before baking.

Place in three standard loaf tins and leave in a warm place till the dough has risen and is around 2cms off the top of the tin – this is the “proving” stage. Never rush the proving I take 1hr 30mins minimum – longer is fine. Carefully place the  tins in a pre-heated oven (220 degrees c) and bake for 35 mins.

If you want a shiny top – place an oven tray with boiling water in the bottom of the oven 5 mins before bread goes in. Spray the loaves with a water mist before baking. Fifteen mins in remove the water bath and spray once more.

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Cool and serve.

Top tip: this bread can be cut and frozen. It defrosts beautifully.

Top tip: every oven is different. Practice till you get your timings right.

Top tip: a neat way to shape the dough into a tight ball is to place it on your counter and cover with a plastic bowl that’s slightly larger than the dough. Then simply turn the bowl in  a short vigorous circular motion and the dough is perfectly round after only a few seconds.

Top tip: you could use 7g of dried yeast but my belief is fresh is best. Most supermarkets with an in-house bakery will sell you some for a few pence.

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