Making bread scares me. There I’ve said it. Cake, biscuits, pastry, puddings, no. But bread, yes. So I’ve decided to face my fears like a grown-up and consent to making bread more often than I do (which is not a lot). I’m also trying to convince anyone I know that this is a great excuse to buy me my pink KitchenAid with its useful dough hook. I have promised to reward the kind person in bread and other baked goods for the rest of their lives, but so far no luck 😦
As I am no bread expert, I sought the advice of an expert…Mr Paul Hollywood. Not personally (I wish), but through his book ‘How to Bake’ which my husband has borrowed from a kindly work colleague. The following recipe and pictures are a white cob loaf and I don’t think it turned out too bad! It certainly smelt delicious and tasted pretty good as well with a hefty addition of (what else?) salted butter.
Ingredients (makes 1 loaf):
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 40g soft butter
- 2 packets (7g each) dried yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 300ml tepid water (not hot)
- Add the flour and butter to a large bowl. Add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other (otherwise the salt will kill the yeast). Stir all the ingredients to combine.
- Add around half the water and mix with your hands until the mix starts to come together. Add a bit of water at a time, incorporating it into the dough and turning the dough round in the bowl to pick up loose bits of flour.
- When you have a soft dough and all the flour has been picked up (you may not need all the water), turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly greased (1 tsp oil) work surface.
- Roll the dough in on itself, turning it 45 degrees each time until it is lightly coated with oil. This stops the dough sticking and eliminates the problem of adding extra flour to the dough.
- Knead the dough for 5 minutes with the heel of your hand until it feels stretchy and elastic. Put back into the bowl (oil the bowl) and cover with cling film. Leave until doubled in size (in a warm place).
- Take the dough out of the bowl and knead lightly for 30 seconds. Shape into a round ‘cob loaf shape’, place on a lined baking tray and cover with a teatowel. Leave the dough to prove in a warm place for an hour. Preheat oven to Gas 7/220C
- Rub a small amount of flour into the loaf and make 4 alternating slashes in the top using a sharp knife.
- Place a tray in the bottom of the oven, then place the bread in the middle of the oven. Pour a small amount of water in the tray at the bottom, this creates steam which gives the bread a crispy crust.
- Bake for around 30 minutes, the bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap it.
f/5.6, 1/50, ISO-400
f/5, 1/200, ISO-400