The Weekend Loaf

Easy White Loaf

 

By organising yourself, you can have a lovely loaf of bread which can last the weekend and get you going on making your own bread. I have tried this now for the last couple of weekends and my husband and number two son are so enthusiastic about the flavour and texture of my homemade bread they are keen to learn how to do it themselves. Result!

Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  1. Bread uses only four ingredients as opposed to the masses of hideous additives in packet bread. Count the ingredients on the label next time you buy white sliced.
  2. The actual prep time takes roughly 10 minutes, and 30 minutes to bake. It is not time consuming to make, but you need to allow for the time to prove (or rise) the bread.
  3. You can do the first rise overnight in the fridge on a Friday night, ready to prove for an hour and then bake on Saturday morning; hence the name, The Weekend Loaf.
  4. Time your cooking so that you can enjoy a fresh loaf for lunch on Saturday. This could be a Ploughman’s with a good hunk of Farmhouse cheese, or a hearty main course soup.
  5. Saturday supper can include the bread toasted with a spread of something like smoked mackerel pate.
  6. Sunday brunch can include the bread toasted with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, or with baked beans on toasted with a nice fried egg on top.
  7. Baking your own loaf is not only cheaper, but makes you respect the loaf and enjoy every mouthful. There will be very little wastage, but if there is simply cut off the crusts and throw for the birds, and break off the remains into breadcrumbs, pop into a sandwich bag and place in the freezer for next time you make bread sauce or need breadcrumbs for a recipe.
  8. I used Waitrose Organic Strong White Bread Flour and Dove Farm Quick Yeast
  9. Do try this tasty, no-waste bread

Recipe:

  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus a little extra for dusting
  • 2 teasps salt
  • 7g fast-action dried yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 300ml tepid water

Method:

  1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Make a well in the centre and add the oil and water, and mix well. If the dough seems a little stiff, add 1-2 tbsp water, mix well then tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead. Once the dough is smooth, place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Place in the fridge to allow it to rise slowly overnight.
  2. The next morning remove the dough from the fridge and knock it back, gently kneading for around three minutes. Mould into the shape you want and place on a baking tray lined with parchment or place in a loaf tin. I like the free form shape as it appears more rustic.
  3. When shaped, cover loosely with cling film and leave to prove for a further hour until doubled in size.
  4. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Dust the loaf with a little flour and cut three slashes across the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Allow to cool on a wire rack and enjoy while still warm.

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