Sunday, January 11, 2009

Basic White Loaf

3 cups plain flour; 1⅛ cups tepid water; 1 tsp salt; ½ Tbsp sugar; 1 pkt (8gms) instant yeast

1. Put all the dry ingredients (except the yeast) into a big bowl
2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the water and yeast into the well
3. Mix the ingredients together until a dough forms
4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured flat surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes (time yourself if you have to...this step is crucial)
5. Put the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with clingform. Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours [apparently, the dough can be left to rise in the refrigerator for about 12 hours]
6. After 1-2 hours, the dough should be twice its original size. Knock it back to its original size and shape into either a rectangle or a round shape and lay the dough on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. You can also put the dough into loaf tins...whatever you fancy
7. Leave the dough to double in size again (should take ½-1 hour but don't rush it...)
8. Bake at 230c for about 35-45 minutes. If you take the oaf out of the oven and tap the bottom and it sounds hollow, it should be done
9. Let the loaf cool before cutting into it

Afterword...Eat as it is (the way I do sometimes!) or slather with butter, jam or cream cheese or sandwich strips of crispy bacon and fresh lettuce and juicy tomatoes straight out of your vege garden between two slices of the fresh bread