This week, a classic. It’s not imaginative, it’s not adventurous, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a beautiful, exciting thing. There’s something so comforting and lovely about a big slice of warm homemade bread, smothered in jam.
My recipe changes slightly every time so this is a mix of recipes from the side of the flour packets, and other stuff I’ve picked up over the years.
- 500g strong white flour
- 7g dried fast-action yeast
- 1.5tsp salt
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 15g butter
- 300ml lukewarm water
- Rub the butter into the flour in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the salt and sugar to one side of the flour, and the yeast to the other side (just to keep them separate until you add the water).
- Pour in about 200ml of the water and mix it all together with your hands. Then use your judgement when adding the water – you want a soft, but not sticky, dough.
- Pop the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 5-10 minutes. I don’t like it when people use dough as a punch bag, I like to treat it with a bit more respect and knead it thoroughly, but gently!
- Cover the bottom of the mixing bowl with a little oil then put the dough back in it, and cover with cling film. Leave it in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
- When doubled, toss it back out onto a floured surface and knock the air out of it then knead it gently for a couple more minutes. Then put it back in the bowl and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
- Now put the dough in the bread tin/on the baking tray, and shape it how you want it. I like to just form a rough rectangle on a baking tray and let it do it’s own thing – it ends up looking nice and rustic. Once you’ve got it how you want it, put it in a plastic bag and put it in a warm place for a final 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven up to 200 degrees C.
- Put it in the oven for around 30 minutes – take it out when it’s browned and sounds hollow on the bottom when tapped.
- Leave it on a rack to cool.
Ultimate comfort food! A simple but lifesaving recipe that can cheer up even the coldest, most miserable February day.