Bread is something that most people love but try to avoid. There is no question that pre-packaged, mass produced, over processed bread can easily be avoided but there is still a lot to be said for good, homemade bread. I started making a lot of my bread in the breadmaker a few years ago but never really had the confidence (or time) to make it from scratch myself. I still don’t really have the time but making it by hand is hugely therapeutic and the end product is so worth it! It tastes so much better than bread from the breadmaker.
Needing professional inspiration I did a breadmaking course with a friend – highly recommended – and we used fresh yeast. I’m totally converted. I found fresh yeast on Ebay and ordered some that turned up the next day – it’s so easy to split it into 15g twists of clingfilm and put them in the freezer. 15g works for 500g of bread flour, just take it out of the freezer a while before you want to use it. A friend recommended a book that has a brilliant technique for kneading it, “Dough” by Richard Bertinet.
And that’s pretty much all it takes: 500g bread flour, 15g yeast, 325-335ml warm water and 10g salt – ten minutes to get it started. How long it takes to rise will depend on where you leave it. I don’t have an airing cupboard so mine often depends on the weather or how warm the kitchen is. Then the dough gets knocked back and left to double in size. Put it in an oven heated to 250 C and immediately turn it down to 220 C: it should be done after 20 minutes. That’s it.
You can vary the types and quantities of bread flour and add various flavourings – I will share some of my favourites with you soon!
If you’re having a bad day I can’t recommend it highly enough – kitchen therapy at its best.