Very few moments can compare to the personal satisfaction one feels, when the smell of fresh, warm home-made bread feels the air. As you cut it and its warm comforting smell fills the air, your mind surely goes back to times when things were much simpler.
Firstly, a few words about the flour. You can just use plain, white flour. But if you are looking for more interesting results, you should mix different kinds of flours. For example for 1kg of flour, mix 700gr white flour with 300gr whole meal flour. Or, 600gr white flour, 300gr whole meal flour and 100gr barley flour. You can experiment with countless combinations. The basic recipe is the same, you just might need different amounts of water.
For 2 large loaves
1kg flour or flour mixture of your choice, plus extra for flouring
2 sachets of dried yeast (read the instructions to make sure that the dosage is correct. It may differ depending on the brand)
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
- Dissolve the yeast in a little tepid water, and leave it for about 15 to 20 minutes
- Mix all other ingredients (apart from the water in a plastic container.
- Add the dissolved yeast, and start adding water little by little, gradually incorporating more and more of the flour. Very careful with the amount of water! It is better to use less and have to add more a bit later, than to pour too much. The threshold point is very small, so pour it very slowly, mixing well before adding more. Depending on the flour, the final amount of water you will need may differ each time.
- Start kneading the dough with your hands strongly, but mainly with tempo! Add water if you need. You will know that the water is enough when the dough is soft, but dry enough not to stick on the sides of the container. When you reach this point transfer the dough to a flat surface that you have sprinkled with flour, and keep kneading for about 15 to 20 minutes. You will see that the dough will gradually become more elastic as glut is released from the flour. You can see it as an extra workout…
- Return the dough to the container and cover it with a clean cloth (not synthetic) or towel. Let it rest for about 50 minutes to one hour in a warm part of the house without droughts. You will see that it will have more than doubled in size after this time.
- Put it back onto a floured clean surface, knock the air out of it, and knead it again for a few minutes, forming in the end two loaves of bread. Put them in the dishes in which you will bake them, after you have floured them well. Finally, sprinkle some flour on top of the loaves and cover them gently with a cloth. Leave them for about 35 to 45 minutes to rise again.
- While you wait, preheat the oven to 220°C. Put the loaves in the oven and bake for 50 minutes to one hour, at 220°C for the first 20 minutes and at 200° for the rest of the time.
- Remove from the oven and place them on a rack to cool down.
And now you can cut them and enjoy the fruit of your hard labour. It is definitely worth it!
- You can enrich your bread by adding seeds, such as sesame, sunflower, linseeds, oats even walnuts, intensifying its taste and nutritional value.
- Alternatively you can put olives, cheese, or any other ingredient you think would go well.
- Make smaller rolls instead of loaves and use them as a healthy snack.