Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Wholemeal Bread

I hope you've all been having fun and indulging in fine food over the festive period, as well as the occasional cake or two! However as the new year approaches I thought I would offer up something a little more wholesome. Also if you've never made bread before why not make it your resolution and give it a try!

Prep time: 25 Mins (Plus proving time)
Baking time: 20-25 Mins
250ml Tepid Water
12g Fresh Yeast (If you're supermarket has a bakery section have a word and they will supply you!)
1tsp Caster Sugar
315g Wholemeal Flour (Plus extra for dusting)
50g Very Strong White Bread Flour
1tsp Salt

Let's begin. Add the water to a jug, then mix in the yeast and sugar until blended. In a large mixing bowl mix together both the flours along with the salt, then tip in the water. Loosely bring together with a flat bladed knife, then tip out onto a floured surface. Bring together to a sticky dough then start to knead, stretching the dough apart, folding back on itself, turning by a quarter and repeating. Do this until the dough is smooth and elastic which will take around 10 minutes. Depending on the environmental conditions you may find the dough to be a little sticky, or even a little dry so you can add a touch more flour or even water as you're kneading if required. Please do this with care though.

Once the dough is smooth and elastic dust with flour, transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for around 90 minutes until doubled in size. Once risen remove from the bowl onto a fresh, lightly floured surface and press lightly all over with the ends of your fingers to knock any excess air from the dough. Divide into 8 buns and shape each into a round. As you can see I'm making buns here, but you can easily shape into a loaf or something else if you prefer. Leave the buns on a lightly floured surface and cover for 30 minutes. You don't want to cover with a tea towel this time as it will stick so I actually use an large upturned tupperware container, although you could lightly grease a sheet of clingfilm and use that instead.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 and lightly grease a large flat baking tray with oil. Also place a tin half full of boiling water in the bottom of the oven, which should create a light steam. Uncover your buns and very gently transfer to the baking tray, evenly spaced apart. Place in the oven for around 20-25 minutes until the buns are a nice even brown then remove. The steam should have helped create a lovely crust on the bread but if you'd like it a little softer then just cover the buns with a tea towel as they are cooling. And there you go, all done!

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