Its pretty funny that you’ve given up bread this month. Thought I’d use it as an opportunity to launch Breaduary! I’m posting one new bread for each week of Feb. These breads, with a bit of adapting deepening on what’s in your cupboard or fridge, are the only breads you’ll ever need. Baking with yeast is addictive – really – it’s magic and has been made to sound a lot harder than it is. All bread follows the same basic steps; mix, kneed, prove (rest), shape, prove, bake. Even if it burns, bulges, or deflates, it’ll still taste like bread. You don’t need a bread machine, stand mixer or 00 triple artisan Italian flour.
Bread number one, The Every Day One. It’s a light wholemeal loaf, sweet and nutty. It’s so soft and got the crustiest crust on it. If I had to pick one bread to have everyday it would be this. Because this doesn’t have much water in it, it’s a really easy one to knead and shape.
You can easily turn this into a white bloomer loaf by replacing the wholemeal flour with the same weight of strong white bread flour, leaving out the Vitamin C and halving the weight of sugar.
- 250g Strong white bread flour
- 250g Wholemeal bread flour
- 20g brown sugar, any kind
- ½ 500mg Vitamin C tablet, crushed into a powder (Yes, really! Google ‘why put vitamin c in bread’. Mine are orange flavour because that’s all they had in the shop. You can’t taste the orange so get whatever they have.)
- 7g (1 sachet) dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 30g butter, very softened
- 320ml warm water, you might need a drop more
Put the flours, sugar, and vitamin c in a bowl, add the yeast on one side and salt on the other side (salt can kill yeast if in direct contact. Lol how dramatic). Mix together. Add the very soft butter, rub this into the flour until it disappears. Pour in the water and mix with a spoon until a shaggy mass of dough forms cleaning the side of the bowl. If there is still some dry flour in the bowl, add a drop (just a drop!) more water.
Pour about half a teaspoon olive oil onto your work surface and smear it out. Tip the dough onto it and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (10mins ish). Kneading is easy to do but hard to write. Use your hands to stretch, fold and roll the dough back on itself, if you do it quickly, you are kneading.
Put the dough into a very lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Set it in a warm place – on a chair next to the radiator is great – until doubled in size (1 hour ish).
Lightly flour a baking tray. Tip the dough onto your work surface and flatten it out into a wide rectangle, then roll it up tightly. Rotate it 90 degrees and repeat the first step, flattening to a rectangle, narrower this time, and rolling up, ending with the seam of the roll on the work surface. Tuck each end of the bread under itself slightly and place on the baking tray. Cover with cling film and put back in the warm spot until doubled in size (30mins ish). Pre heat the oven to 220 ready for the bread.
Dust the top of the loaf with flour and slash with diagonal lines using a very sharp knife. You don’t have to do this; it just helps the loaf keep its shape. Bake for 15 mins, then turn down the oven to 200 and bake for a further 25 mins.
Let the bread cool for 15 mins until you cut into it, or you’ll squash your bread! I like mine with lots of butter and jam. Try it. You’ll never look back.