Sunday, 19 July 2015

Recipe: half and half loaf

Bread is so easy.  All it takes is time which is a somewhat precious thing in this day and age.  It is frugal, tastes like a million pounds, makes the house smell fantastic as it bakes and makes me feel so good!

This is my bogstandard, weekly bread loaf recipe.  Works for me every time.  I do the kneading in Thermione - or, rather, Thermione does the kneading for me.  It is just the right amound for three 1lb loaf tins.

300g strong white bread flour
300g strong wholemeal bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp dried yeast (the breadmaker kind)*
1 tbsp dried milk powder (optional but does make a nice dough)
about 30g oil (I use veg or sunflower)
400 mls warm water **

Three 1 pound loaf tins

Place all the ingredients in the bowl and either mix and knead until your arms drop off or put the lot in Thermione and let her do all the hard work - ten minutes on knead.

Shape the dough into a ball and drop into an oiled bowl.  Smooth some oil over the top, cover the bowl in cling film or similar and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.

Tip the dough our onto a floured surface and knock back briefly which means thumping the divil out of it.  Cut into three equal amounts.  Shape each part into a loaf and place in a 1lb loaf tin.  I line the tin but you could just oil it.
Cover the tins with cling film (I use the same clingfilm so as not to waste it) and allow the loaves to rise until they reach the top of the tins.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven as hot as it will go.  When you put the loaves in, turn it down to about 180C.  Bake them for about 30 mins, then remove them from the tins and put them back in the oven.  Turn off the oven and leave the loaves in the cooling oven for about five minutes or so.  That gets a nice crust all over.

Cool on a rack.  I then wrap and freeze two of the loaves.

*  If you use the other kind of instant yeast, start it off by putting it in a jug, adding the sugar and 150mls of the warm water, mix it well and leave it for ten mins by which time it will have gone all fluffy and yeasty!  Then add to the other ingredients.

**  There's a formula for knowing how much water you need.  If it is a pure white you need 63% of the weight of the flour.  A 100% wholemeal requires 70% of the flour in weight.  My half and half is half way between the two.
To find a percentage, input the weight of the flour (yes, I use a calculator), divide that by 100, then times it by the percentage you want.  I round up or down if needed.

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