Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Best White and Wholemeal Bread Recipe

White Bread

One thing I love making, since starting this blog, is my own bread, it's so totally different from shop bought bread and with less “extra” ingredients. Don't get me wrong I love sliced bread, because as far as I am concerned slice bread still makes the best chip butties. But I really enjoying getting my hands dirty and taking my frustration out on the bread dough. It's also fills the house with a gorgeous smell of baking bread, something I remember as a kid. It's one of the aromas I love, like freshly cut grass, cooking bacon and my favourite, fresh coffee in a percolator. Also, eating the nobby (what we in our house call the two ends of the bread) once it's has cooled down with lashing of butter is divine. Crisp and crunchy bread with the butter gently melting on the warm bread. There are times when you can't be too healthy and when it comes between margarine and butter there is no competition, butter wins hands down, but I try to use liberally but that doesn't happen when eating the nobby.

A while ago I got sent a copy of the Fabulous Baker Brothers book, which I actually find disappointing, mainly because most of the recipes in the TV series are not in the book. But their basic white and wholemeal bread recipe is one of the best I've come across. It has become a big hit in our house and I have made many perfect loafs using this recipe. I always knead the bread by hand and have found the longer you knead the dough the better. I have found 20 minutes a basic minimum kneading time. It is very difficult to over knead the bread by hand, but be careful if you do with a kneading machine, ten minutes should be the average amount of time.
Wholemeal Bread

With this recipe you can use either white or wholemeal bread flour as the measurement works well for both. But if using wholemeal flour you should add about an extra 10% of warm water as the wholemeal flour absorbs a lot more water than white flour.

  • 300ml tepid water – 330ml if doing wholemeal flour
  • 20ml oil, rapeseed is best but vegetable oil is fine
  • 5g dried years (or 10g fresh)
  • 560g strong white flour/wholemeal flour
  • 5g salt

Put the tepid water into a jug and add the oil and the yeast and mix together.

Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the salt and mix together.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the liquid. With one hand mix all the ingredients together and then turn the dough onto a floured surface.

If you are kneading the bread by hand knead it for a minimum of 20 minutes. If you have a food mixer than knead for 10 minutes and no longer.

Once finished place the dough into a bowl and allow it raise to either double the size or for an hour which ever happens first.

Take out the dough out of the bowl and knead again for about 4-5 minutes. This removes any air in the dough so will stop holes appearing in the bread after it's cooked.

Roll the dough in a a pan shape and place into a greased 2lb bread tin. Cover and leave to rise for an hour or doubled in size which ever happens sooner.

Whilst the bread is proving, pre-heat the oven to 240c/475f/gas 9. Place a metal tray in oven whilst heating up. When the oven and bread is ready, place the bread in the oven and pour in some water into the metal tray and cook for 10 minutes. The steam from the water will help the bread form a crispy crust.

Then reduce the heat to 210c/410f/gas6.5 and remove metal tray with the water in it and bake for about 20-30 minutes. If you leave the water in the oven the crust will become too tough.

Take out of the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove from bread tin. Turn the bread over and tap the base of the bread. If it sounds hollow then it is cooked, place on a wire tray and allow to cool.
RRP £20
Or you can purchase the book by clicking the picture below.

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