Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Basic Bread

Adapted from a recipe used in a baking class held by Tower Hamlet Idea Store.

My Ingredients: (Makes 8)
  • 500g strong flour
  • 14g of easy yeast (2 sachets of instant yeast)
  • 100g (1 medium) onion or shallot (see below for alternatives)
  • 500ml of water or milk to mix
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a wee bit of cheese or seed (for optional topping)

My Method:
  1. Place the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a bowl and mix well. Cook raw onion or shallot in vegetable oil or butter till soft and golden brown.
  2. Chop the cooked onion into small pieces. Add the onion and water (or milk). With a wooden spoon, bind the flour into a soft and elastic, but not sticky dough. If the dough becomes too dry, add a little warm water (or milk).
  3. Using floured hands, knead the dough until smooth and even textured (about 20-30 minutes). Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm place until the dough has risen and doubled in size (about 40 minutes)
  4. Knock back, shape and place on a greased and floured baking tray. Brush with melted butter, egg or milk. Add cheese or seeds on top (optional).
  5. Prove again without covering for about 30-40 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes (depending on the size & shape) until the crust is golden brown. Dough should feel springy to touch, or sound hollow to knock.

One-line Verdict:
A basic bread recipe which is ideal for first-time bread baker (i.e. me!).

    • 500ml of milk was a little bit too much. 350ml should be a more appropriate amount.
    • For strong flavour, shallots should be used instead of onions. Can replace onion by cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, apricots, raisins, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, sesame, poppy seeds... you name it!
    • If using cheese, hard cheese (such as cheddar or Eden) is preferred. Parmesan will not work.
    • Tips for creating different bread shapes can be found here.
    • Approximate cost of the main ingredients: £2

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