I love baking, this is no secret. I find the act of making something by hand, from scratch quite therapeutic and dare I say relaxing. One particular branch of the baking family however I struggle with; Bread.
I find my break baking so hit and miss that the idea of making bread tends to fill me with dread and anxiety. Mainly as the recipe tends to use a lot of flour I feel like it is such a waste if I end up with some brick-like loaf not fit to feed the ducks with!
So I don't often make bread, pizza dough and the occasional white loaf is as far as I go. After watching The Great British Bake Off I felt inspired to try and plaited loaf, it seemed like a fairly easy way to create quite a fancy looking finish. I wasn't quite up for the full 8 strand challenge but a 3 strand-er seemed the best place to start...
On a slight side-note, I was sent the latest GBBO book back in September, and while it is a pretty book, much like the series I found it all a little too obscure and over-the-top... I mean creme caramel and choux swans?! Really?
I would definitely say if you loved the series, the book is worth a look.
I started with my usual white bread recipe, which is pretty basic but effective. I decided to be a little adventurous (for me) and substitute half the plain flour for wholemeal. In hindsight I should of gone two thirds plain, one third wholemeal as I find wholemeal a little dry.
- 700g Plain Flour
- 7g Dried Yeast Sachet
- 2 tsps Salt
- 450ml Warm Water
Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl, turn the kitchen aid onto slow and slowly add the water.
Once the mixture has come together into a loose dough, I leave it to rise for around 10-15 minutes.
Once risen slightly I tip onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for around 8-10 minutes (or until my arm gets tired).
Once the dough has become glossy and stretchy, leave it to rise for around 40 minutes to an hour, until it had doubled in size.
Knock the dough back and split into 3 equal sized balls, roll into long sausages and plait. There are a lot of lovely youtube videos on how to do this.
Leave to rise for around 30 minutes and then pop into the oven heated to 200C for around 12 minutes (my oven is fan assisted, your looking for a golden finish and hollow sound when tapped underneath.)
I have made this recipe 3 time and its worked for me, but feel free to tell me if it is wrong or doesn't work for you, or suggest ways to improve my bread-tekkers.
After seeing how great these turned out I definitely have a little more confidence to try other shapes and techniques, but maybe I just need to go to a class, get shown how to make bread properly. I'll probably find that I am doing it all wrong!
Are you a bread expert, or bread-spert if you will? Please, please, please share your tips and tricks with me. I sure do need them.
Maybe I should do a tips and tricks post, where I share all my disasters teamed with your lovely tips and related blog posts? I am surely not the only bread-failure out there, am I?