I have not bought bread for the past few weeks, since I realized nothing beats the experience of warm, freshly prepared bread for breakfast.
I must admit however, making bread is no mean task. The kneading is thorough, the measurements have to be precise, and the patience to wait for dough to rise is no joke. All that is easily forgotten once the house fills with the oh-so-heavenly aroma and once you realize how much your household loves it!
As we wait for bread machines to be sold in our supermarkets – that sweet day when we will just put ingredients together, set a timer, switch on a button, go to bed and wake up to fresh bread – let us transform a few of our mornings by serving fresh bread.
For the basic white bread, you need:
- 3 tsp dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 ½ cups plain flour
- I teaspoon salt
- 30g butter
- ½ cup warm milk
- Mix the yeast, sugar and water until yeast dissolves, cover and put in a warm place for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is frothy.
- Sift flour and salt into a big bowl.
- Measure your butter and milk precisely. Add these to the sifted flour, stir in the yeast mixture. Knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Hint: Kneading; put your dough onto a floured surface, , press the heel of your hand firmly into the dough and p-u-u-u-sh away from you. Give the dough a quarter turn, fold it toward you and repeat the push. Repeat until the dough is elastic (it springs back when finger-pressed)
- Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and put in a warm place for around 1 hour, when the mixture has doubled in size. Hint: A warm place can be created by heating water in a cup in a microwave, switching the microwave off then putting the cup at the corner and putting your bowl of dough inside for the required time.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface, knead again until smooth, roll the dough into a rectangle of about 30cm length , 18cm width. Roll up the rectangle like a swiss roll, place in a greased oven tray , cut four diagonal slashes on top, cover and put in a warm place about 20 minutes (until risen) then bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes.
Hint: It is best to use bread pan, not an oval pan as above…I used the oval pan because my bread-pan had the grain-loaf below baking. Recipe for grain loaf will be shared later.