If you learn to make one thing in life, make it bread. I have lost count of how many times I have made bread, due to being snowed in during winter months. I always keep strong bread flour and yeast in my cupboard, so whilst others are panic buying sliced loaf, I am happy and content in my kitchen, which fills with the wonderful aroma of baking bread. Baking bread is a great stress reliever too, as I find kneading somewhat therapeutic. Sometimes I do cheat and use my Kitchenaid mixer with its dough hook, which gives great results.
500 g strong White flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
A little olive oil for greasing
7 g easy bake yeast (I use Allinsons)
300 ml luke warm water
Add flour and sugar to a large bowl, place the salt one side of the bowl and the yeast the other side of the bowl. The reason I do this, is that salt can kill yeast, so to place it away from each other initially helps. Add enough water and mix to form a soft dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for up to 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. If using my mixer with dough hook, I also knead for ten minutes.
Place the dough in a bowl which has been greased lightly with olive oil inside. Place the dough inside and then cover it with cling film tightly. This stops a skin developing on the dough. Leave in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size which may take around an hour. If your house is cold it can take up to three hours! Remove the dough onto a floured surface and knock back the air. Place in a 900 g loaf tin, cover with a big loose bag and let it prove a little longer for half an hour. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees centigrade.
When ready to bake, slash the top of the dough and dust with a little extra flour. Place into the oven for around 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees centigrade and cook for a further 20 minutes. Check that it is cooked by tipping the loaf out of the tin and tapping the bottom, it should sound hollow.
Place the bread on a wire rack, and let it cool completely before storing in an airtight container.