I have been making my own bread for a long time now, so long that I could never go back to buying it, although I do like the Pigeon Hole sourdough and the Summer kitchen varieties, but at around $6 a pop, making my own is a lot cheaper! I was making sourdough for a while, but now I am just making basic whites and wholemeal. I thought I would share this recipe with you because I have had loads of success with it and absolutely love the simplicity of it.
500g of plain flour*
2tsp dried yeast
1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water
melted butter or olive oil for greasing
ground rice for dusting, can use semolina too
Prepare loaf tin with some of the melted butter or oil. In a large bowl place flour and salt and mix well to incorporate salt, I use a whisk. Add yeast and mix through, make a well in the centre and add warm water, slowly incorporating dry ingredients until it comes together**. On a lightly floured surface knead dough until it becomes smooth and soft, allow at least 10 minutes or until dough springs back when lightly pressed. Dough made with wholemeal flour may require more kneading. Shape dough into a round ball, brush bowl with melted butter or oil and return dough. Cover with a damp t-towel and allow to rise for 75 minutes in a warm place.
Once dough has doubled in size knock back the dough for a second rising. This is done by softly punching the centre of the dough. Turn dough out on the bench dressed with ground rice and lightly knead out again, I flatten the dough to the length of the tin and fold twice, 1st fold to the centre and the second fold over the first fold, then carefully shape the loaf for the tin. Place in tin and slice the top of the loaf three times until you reach the bottom of the first layer. This will leave lovely grooves in the top of your bread as it rises. Alternatively when kneading for the second time, you can divide the bread into two or more equal portions and place side by side in the tin to allow to rise into pull apart portions once baked, or you can just leave it as one whole. Once in tin allow to rise until 2cm above the tin, at least another half an hour***. Preheat oven to 200C, brush with remaining melted butter or olive oil and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown, it should make a hollow sound when you knock the base with your knuckles. Turn out immediately and allow to cool on a wire rack.
* I use Callington Mill light sifted, although I have been mixing half and half with the stone ground wholemeal to make a wholemeal loaf.
** You may need more or less water/flour depending on age, type, brand of flour, accuracy of measurements.
***I have found that the longer you can leave it in the second rising the more airy the bread becomes, giving it an almost crumpety texture, although leaving it too long will result in the bread deflating, although it will retain its airy status, it will not rise high while baking, resulting in a somewhat flat loaf.
Copyright Tasmaniasfeast 2013