We were talking about bread last week – this make as change for us as we normally talk about our shared love for offal and all things nose-to-tail. I was telling him about a minimal knead method of making bread I had read about in a Dan Lepard book. On Saturday I tried it out. It was quite possibly the best loaf of bread I have ever made. The crust had crunch, the crumb was soft, but robust – if this makes sense. It made me think of lovely Turkish and French bread. Now it wasn’t the best bread I have ever eaten – not by a long way – that has been made by bakers far more skilled than myself, but it was the best loaf I have ever made. It has spurred me on to work at being a better baker.
Easy White Bread – (from Dan Lepard Short and Sweet: the best of home baking 19) 400 g strong white flour, 1 tsp fast acting yeast (I used 1tbs of Doves yeast that needs reconstituting as that is what is recommended for 400g of flour), 1tsp salt (I probably didn’t put quite enough in and will add more next time), 300ml warm water, some oil for kneading.
Mix flour, yeast, salt and water in a bowl until it forms a sticky shaggy mess. Cover and leave for ten minutes. Oil a portion of your work top and your hands. Knead the dough for about 10 seconds – push the dough away from you to stretch it out, fold it in half and turn it 90 degrees, then repeat – maybe do this 10 times – hence the ten seconds! Put it in a clean, oiled bowl, cover and leave for 10 minutes. Knead again for 10 seconds. Leave for ten minutes and then knead again for ten seconds. Cover and leave for 45 minutes. Dust the work surface with flour and then pat the dough into an oval shape. Roll it up pinching where the dough meets as you roll. Place it seam-side down on a floured baking tray. Cover and leave for 45 minutes. Heat your oven to 220C (200 in a fan oven), flour the top of the dough, slash it down the top and pop it in the oven. I added some cold water to a tray at the bottom of my oven to create some steam. Bake for 35 minutes or so.
And what do you do with the best loaf of bread you have ever made? You make a sausage sandwich with it with your home-reared, homemade sausages, brown sauce and watercress.