I love making bread, the kneading, feeling it change as I go, the satisfaction when you check on it after proving and its massive, the smell that lingers for days afterwards, but for some reason I’ve only ever made basic white bread or rolls. Which are really just the same things in different shapes. I really want to branch out and try other things, so if anyone has any great bread recipes please do share them with me.
I can’t remember where I’ve got this recipe from, it might even be a combination of a few, but I do know that whenever I’ve tried anything slightly different it just hasn’t worked. So this is what I’m sticking to.
- 500g Strong White bread flour
- 7g Instant yeast (or 1 pack)
- 15g Butter
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoons caster sugar
- 300ml Warm water
First add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast to a large mixing bowl and mix them all together. I have read that you should add the salt and yeast to opposite sides, but I’ve never done this and it always works fine.
Next you need to rub in the butter with your fingers, now it’s only a bit of butter compared to the amount of flour, so you’re not looking for a “breadcrumb” consistency, just make sure it’s all even and there aren’t any lumps of butter.
I now add around 250ml of the water. It needs to be warm, but not too hot to touch. Mix this into your flour with a wooden spoon. If after mixing it’s still not all pulled together, add a bit more water, but I would from this point only add 10ml at a time to avoid it getting too sticky (if it does seem too sticky to work with, add a little more flour. Just tiny bits at a time either way). When its all coming together, tip it out on to a lightly floured surface. Knead. And Knead. Knead some more. For at least 5 mintues. This is my favourite part, I get quite aggressive with it. You’ll know its ready when it springs back if you poke it.
Next put it in a slightly oiled bowl or tin, and cling film it. Today I couldn’t find the cling film, so I put it in a clean supermarket carrier (because we’ve all got 9000000 of those). Leave it to prove for 2 hours. If you accidentally forget about it, don’t worry it just gets bigger for the first few hours.
After you’ve had your nap, preheat the oven to 100 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn it off. While that’s heating, tip out the dough, and punch it. Really punch it, until it’s flat again, then knead for a few more minutes. Now it should feel like a lovely, soft, easy to work with dough. To be neat, roll it out into a big sausage and cut it in to 8 equal pieces. I just rip it into 8 random bits. Roll these balls, then flatten them down slightly. I now put them on to a lightly oiled baking tray, and put them into what is now a warm oven, and leave for 20 minutes.
At this point they should have risen a little, but not to the point they’re trying to break free. Turn the oven back on at 180 degrees, and cook for 10 minutes.
When you take them out, if they are ready, they will be a nice golden brown, and if you knock on the bottom it will make a hollow sound. This is just one of those things you get used to as you make bread. If it’s not ready yet, pop it back in fir another 2 minutes.
We always have these rolls with burgers, like these, but they make great sausage sandwiches too. They also freeze really well if you want to enjoy them later.