Fresh homemade bread, hot from the oven, is a wonderful thing. It’s not knitting or crochet but we’ve all got to eat some time and knitted sandwiches are too calorie-free! Bread is pretty much a staple foodstuff so here is my favourite homemade bread recipe.
1 lb plain flour (about 2 heaped cups) plus extra for kneading
1 tsp salt
2 oz butter or margarine (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 pt hand-hot water (rather hot but not so hot that you couldn’t stick your fingers in it)
1 sachet easy-bake yeast (7 g easy-bake yeast is equivalent to 1 1/2 tsp dried yeast or 1 tbsp fresh yeast)
2 tsp caster sugar
1. Mix the water, yeast and sugar together in a jug and set it aside for a few minutes until it starts to froth up. (It’ll look a bit like the head on a pint of beer!)
2. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
3. Rub the fat into the flour mixture. (Use your fingertips and keep rubbing until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.)
4. Pour your frothy yeast water into your flour mixture and combine thoroughly. (If it’s a bit sticky, don’t worry – you can work in some extra flour.)
5. Tip your dough on a very well-floured surface and knead like crazy. Seriously, knead like there’s no tomorrow – I’m not going to give you a second chance*, unlike most homemade bread recipes!
6. Shape your kneaded dough into a loaf and pop it into a 2 lb loaf tin. Leave your dough to rise, until it’s doubled in size. (This may take about an hour or longer; a warm room temperature will help.)
7. Bake your bread in a preheated oven at 200 degrees celsius (390 degrees fahrenheit) for 40 minutes. Leave it to cool for at least a few minutes before slicing!
This homemade bread recipe is very adaptable. If you want to make 2 loaves, divide your dough between a couple of 1 lb loaf tins and reduce the baking time to 30 minutes. Or, if you’d like to make bread rolls, shape the dough into small balls on a baking sheet and reduce the baking time to 15 minutes. You can change the flour to whatever you fancy; a half-and-half mix of plain flour and wholemeal flour works very well.
If you use non-dairy margarine instead of butter, then this homemade bread recipe will be vegan. Alternatively, if you don’t care for soft bread then you could omit the fat entirely; the fat is there to soften the bread texture.
*Most homemade bread recipes will tell you that white bread requires 2 risings and wholemeal bread only requires 1 rising. If you want to give your dough a second rising, well, that’s entirely up to you. You don’t need to!! ;)
Abbreviations & Glossary:
g = grams
lb = pound
tbsp = tablespoon
tsp = teaspoon
caster sugar (UK) = superfine sugar (US)
plain flour (UK) = all-purpose flour (US)
wholemeal flour (UK) = whole-wheat flour (US)