“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
~ James Beard
My lovely neighbour, Richard, shared his bread recipe with me last week. He assured me that the bread was both tasty and quick to make.
I hadn’t thought I would try it out so soon, but I made a big cauldron of soup, and there was not a slice of bread left in the house. Well, I decided, I might just give Richard’s recipe a go!
You don’t need special flour, a bread maker or any fancy equipment for this bread mix. I urge you to give it a try, or get your kids to make it for you. 🙂 Yes, it’s that easy.
I’ve expanded Richard’s simple directions for those of you who haven’t made bread before, and listed some additional mix-ins and hints.
600 grams of flour of your choice – white, wholemeal, spelt, etc (I used 450 grams of organic spelt and 150 grams of organic rye to make a light rye loaf), 1.5 tablespoons of dried yeast, 600ml of very warm water, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (I actually used coconut vinegar for this loaf), 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of fine Himalayan salt or salt of your choice, plus some olive oil or butter for greasing your tin or tray.
Mix-ins: You can add seeds, grains, nuts and dried fruit to your loaf if you wish. Start with a cup of extra ingredients, and if you like a nuttier, seedier or fruitier loaf, feel free to add more in.
Place flour and yeast into a very large bowl.
Pour the warm water, vinegar, honey and salt into a jug or bowl and mix well, until the salt and honey have dissolved. If you are using mix-ins, add them to the water to soften slightly by soaking for ten minutes. As you can see from the picture below I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds!
Now add the water to the flour and yeast. Using a clean hand, mix until combined. Knead for a few minutes until the dough is springy and elastic, doesn’t stick to your hands, and all the floury dry bits have disappeared. If you need to add a little extra flour or warm water to make the dough the right consistency, do so.
Leave the dough in the large bowl, covered with a clean tea towel, and put in a warm place until the dough rises to double its volume.
Punch the dough back down and knead for a few minutes until it returns to its original size.
Lightly oil a baking tin, or a baking sheet. I used a bread tin that measured 30 cm x 10cm and it was perfect. If you don’t have a suitable tin, use a heavy baking sheet or tray.
Form up your loaf by using your hands to shape the dough into the approximate size of your tin, or make a freestyle loaf to sit on your tray. Place the dough into the tin, or onto the tray and cover with a tea-towel again until the loaf has risen a second time.
Preheat your oven to 210 degrees celcius (410 degrees fahrenheit). Drop the heat a little if using a fan-forced oven.
When the dough has risen use a sharp or serrated knife to score the top of the loaf if you wish, which helps make a crunchy crust.
Place into the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. If the bread is done it will sound hollow when you tap it.
Remove from oven and carefully remove the bread from the tin. Cool on a wire rack.
If you like a crusty loaf, let it cool with good ventilation. If you prefer a softer crust, cover with a clean tea towel.
My loaf turned out beautifully, with a thin crunchy crust, and a soft light interior. We scoffed some warm with butter and home-made jam for afternoon tea, just to check that it had turned out okay 😉 and I’m pleased to announce that it was scrumptious.