Measure out 3/4 of a pint of warm water and put half in the bowl of your mixer along with 2 level tsp of dried yeast and 1 of sugar. To the remaining half, add 2 tsp of salt and 4 tbs of lard or oil – Jane says olive oil is the best thing, so that’s what I did. After about 20 minutes the yeast becomes all frothy as it activates and gets going. My kitchen was quite cool, so it would probably only take 10 in a warmer one, I reckon. The salty water was then added along with 1 1/2 pounds of white flour (though you could do a combination of wholemeal and white). Put the dough hook attachment onto your mixer and turn it on low and let the dough form around the hook. When it’s all come together, you can turn the speed up a little, but it only takes about 5 minutes in all – don’t overwork it says Jane, or else!! Next put some Clingfilm over the top of the bowl and wait for the dough to double in size. I have no airing cupboard, so to speed up the process I hugged the bowl and watched telly, allowing my body heat to increase the yeast metabolism.
When that’s done, knock-back the dough by punching it to let all the air out. Roll a pound of the dough into a thick sausage shape and put in a small loaf tin, and pout the rest in a large one. Cover with cling film again – brush it with oil to stop the dough sticking – and allow to prove, i.e. let the dough rise a second time, until it is over the sides of the tins. This takes ages if your kitchen is cool – but don’t worry it will eventually.
Bake at 230 degrees C for 30 minutes, then take the loaves out of their tins and turn them upside down, so the crusts can crisp up. Put the loaves back in the tine and brush the tops with milk to make them shiny. Cool them by laying then across the tins. Phew!
#59 Electric Dough Hook Bread – 8/10. It was a foolproof recipe and it tasted lovely – really (I know it sounds stupid) bready. The flavour of the yeast made it I think. It was quite dense, but I think that was my fault for not letting it prove for long enough. I had a piece still warm with butter on, which I think is the best way to have home-made bread. You certainly don’t need to bother with fillings when bread is this tasty. If only I have time to make for myself every day!