Summer is not merely upon us, rather, it is downright smothering us! This oppressive heat is… wonderful. I love it. Yay summer, yay shorts, and yay baking. Oh wait, not yay baking… It’s far too hot to have the oven on! That’s a real shame…
I made this bread a while ago… Back when I was allowed to eat bread… While I am not meant to be eating bread at the moment, if I did actually make it again, I would definitely break my bread rule. I would just need to make sure I had someone to share it with, otherwise I would eat the whole thing! And that’s really not good for the whole “bikini body” thing everyone is on about…
- 400g white bread flour
- 125g wholewheat flour
- 2 tsp fine salt
- 25g butter
- 250ml warm water
- 175g raw, grated potato
- 2 tbsp malt vinegar
- 5 tsp instant yeast
- Oil for kneading
- Mix the flours and the salt together and rub the butter through the flour mixture
- Stir together the warm water, potato, vinegar and yeast, and then add to the flour mixture, using it to bring the dough together
- Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes, then remove from the bowl onto an oiled surface for kneading. Knead well
- Return to the bowl and leave to prove for 20 minutes
- Remove from the bowl, shape (ball or traditional free-form oblong loaf shape), and place on a floured tray. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C while waiting
- Dust the loaf with flour, slash it down the middle, and place into the oven, on the middle rack, for 40-50 minutes. You may want to include a bit of steam in the oven by filling a small metal roasting tin with boiling water, and placing it on the lowest shelf (personally I have found that I end up with a soggy bottom when I do this, so I’m not really a fan – the loaf works with and without this step)
…and it was wonderful!
This time last year, I was baking brownies. Brownies upon brownies upon brownies! It was definitely my thing.
This year, I am at home, with my own oven, my “own” (mother’s) kitchen, and I don’t need to borrow a kitchen from someone, where I would have to take all my own ingredients that were stored in the top of my cupboard above my clothes and linen in my bedroom… Yeah, it’s definitely good to be home!
It’s both a blessing and a curse though. Now I get to cook all the time. Which I love but which is also really bad, especially now that I am writing my final honours exams (from Monday. OMG I’m going to die! Wish me all the luck!). So, in between all the studying, and sometimes even instead of all the studying, I bake. And that is how this loaf came about.
I love cookery books. Aren’t they pretty? I really should use them since I have so many! It’s my “post-exams resolution”. That, and tidying up all the clutter in my room that has accumulated since I have had more pressing things to do (like “study”, which can be seen here and here). I have all these exciting cooking plans for the end of exams, it is so difficult to actually wait until they are over to start! Hence, procrastibaking.
So cookbook number 1 is a really cool baking book which I will share with you soon, once I have tried and tested a few more of its recipes. It is very educational, which, of course, is the whole point of me baking and sharing my lessons and experiences with you here on my blog! It doesn’t have enough pictures though, but I feel like complaining about that makes me sound like a child complaining over the quality of their picture book (or why grown up book are so boring). Time to grow up and get this honours degree I guess. Real world next year, bring it on!
Simple white bread loaf
- 400g white bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 300ml warmish water
- Place flour in a bowl. Place the salt in on the one side of the bowl and the yeast in on the other (don’t let them touch just yet)
- Add the water and mix well. Don’t be afraid to get your hands in there!
- When all the ingredients are well-combined (but don’t over-mix!), place the ball of dough in the bowl, cover with a cloth and leave for 10 minutes
- Remove dough from bowl, place on an oiled surface (not floured), and knead, 6-8 turns (not too long)
- Replace dough in bowl, and leave for 10 minutes. Repeat twice more
- On final kneading, leave the dough in the bowl for 45 minutes to increase in size (still with a cloth over the bowl)
- Remove the dough, and place onto a floured surface. Shape into an oval, or a weird circle, or whatever shape you manage to get out of it, no one will judge you if it’s not perfectly oblong
- Place almost-loaf onto the pre-floured pan that the bread will cook on, cover with a cloth, and leave to prove (increase in size) for around 45 minutes
- Preheat oven to 220ºC, dust loaf with a bit of extra bread flour, slash it down the length, not too deep, and place in the oven for 35-40minutes. Mine took 35 minutes, but ovens may vary
- Remove from oven, allow to cool a bit, then lather with butter and devour, making sure you save some for soup later (there is still a springy nip in the air at the moment after all!)