One of the many changes I made as a part of cutting down my grocery bill, was to start making my own bread. I was fed up of paying £1.50 for a loaf of bread, of which 50% would usually end up mouldy and therefore, in the bin.
Making my own bread was something that I had considered before I had my awakening, however at that point I wasn’t really thinking about this whole process in a financially savvy way. In fact I was thinking of getting a fancy bread maker that would make the bread for me. No effort! I’m glad I didn’t, as making bread is one of my new passions.
I received an amazing book of baking recipes by Paul Hollywood called How To Bake and for just under 6 months, I’ve not bought a loaf of store bought bread. If I’m honest I haven’t really tried many of the recipes because I’m so impressed with the first loaf I tried. The Cob Loaf.
I like this particular loaf because all you really need to make it are the raw ingredients, a bowl, a baking tray, a large clean plastic bag and some greaseproof paper. If you would like to make this loaf, you will need:
- 500g White bread flour
- 30g unsalted butter
- 10g salt
- 7g fast acting yeast
- 320ml of tepid water
- Olive oil
- 20g of Sunflower Seeds
- 20g of Pumpkin Seeds
- Baking Tray
- Greaseproof Paper
- Mixing bowl
- Large plastic bag
- Add the flour, butter, salt, yeast (and the seeds if you’re using them) into the bowl. Place the salt and yeast to opposite sides of the bowl. Add the water a little bit at a time. Mixing as you go. I just use my hands, it’s good fun.
- Once the dough has come together, spread a small amount of olive oil onto your work surface and tip you dough out of the bowl. The dough may feel quite wet but don’t worry it’ll come good after the next step.
- Kneed for about 10 minutes, it should start to look smooth and when you press it with your finger it’ll spring back a little. At this point I usually stop, shape the dough into a ball and place it back into the bowl. I just put it to the side and place a clean tea towel over the top of the bowl. It’ll need to raise for two hours. You now have some time to do whatever you like.
- After two hours have passed peek under the towel, the dough should have risen and doubled or more in size.
- Lightly flour the work surface and tip the dough onto it. Now just kneed the bread to get all the air out of it. I’m led to believe this is called “Knocking back”. Once you’re confident it’s all out of air, get a baking tray and line it with some greaseproof paper. Shape the dough into a ball and place it on the centre of the tray and put that tray inside a large carrier bag for one hour. Proving.
- Put the oven on to heat up so its ready for when the hour is up. I set mine to 180 degrees C for a fan assisted oven, you’ll have to figure yours out as ovens can differ. For non fan assisted ovens you’ll want about 200 degrees C. If you have a small baking tray place this in the bottom of the oven to heat up, then stick the kettle on.
- When the kettle has boiled pour the water into the tray you placed in the bottom of the oven, close the door, the water will create steam in the oven so when you bake your bread it’ll help to develop a lovely crust.
- When the bread has sat for an hour check it, it should have at least doubled in size. Get a sharp knife and slice the top of the bread. Dust with a little flour and place it straight in the oven. You’ll want to bake the bread for about 30 minutes.
- When the 30 minutes is up, take the bread out of the oven and do the tap test. Get some oven gloves and tip your bread over, tap the bottom. If it sounds hollow, congratulations your bread is cooked, otherwise put it in for a bit longer.
- Let it cool down a bit, eat it.
I worked out it costs me about 60-70p for a basic loaf that’ll last me a week of making awesome sandwiches for work. Also I don’t wast any of it. I know exactly what’s in it, yadda yadda yadda. Just try it.