For those of you who want to make your own bread but still think it’s difficult, here is the simplest bread I think anyone can make. Of course, I am open to being challenged on this…
- 4 cups* of whatever flour you want (I suggest you use a variety of wholemeal ancient grains)
- 2 teaspoons of yeast
- 2 teaspoons of soft brown sugar
- 1.5 cups of warm water
*I know that we get irritated by cup to g/mg/ml or ounce/lb measurements, but I simply grabbed an average-size cup from the drawer and used it. If you want to make more, use more cups or bigger cups. The above amounts made one medium loaf tin plus a random blob of bread that was small but nice.
- Set oven to around 220ºC / 428ºF / gas mark 7. Put a metal or cookware dish in the bottom of the oven to heat up.
- Throw all ingredients except water and sugar into a big bowl and mix.
- Dissolve sugar in water and add to above mixture.
- Stir until it forms a ball, then whack it onto a board with some extra flour and “mess around” with it for a couple of mins.
- Flop it into the loaf tin (silicone is great – IMHO) and spread it out. Any remaining dough can be plonked onto a silicone or floured baking sheet.
- Place in a warm spot for 15 mins or so (I put it in the top oven where radiating heat would warm it). And cover with cling film if you wish. If you do decide to cover with cling film while rising, be aware that if the cling film comes into contact with the top of the dough, then when you remove it (after dough has risen) the top of the dough will look like the back of a hedgehog. It will, luckily, flatten out in the heat of the oven.
- When the dough has risen, remove any cling film from the dough (tastes horrible when cooked!) and carefully pour a cup of water into the now-hot dish at the bottom of the oven. This gives the bread a crispy crust.
- Stick the loaf tin/tray into the oven and cook for 12-15 mins.
- Take out of oven and remove loaf from loaf tin. Turn bread over and put back in oven for another 5 mins.
- Take out after 5 mins and check to see if it is cooked all the way through (stick a sharp knife or skewer into it to see if it comes out dry or wet, or just tap the bottom of the loaf and if it sounds hollow, then it’s probably perfect).