Give me bread

Basic loaf -Photo courtesy Wendy Rahamut
Basic loaf -Photo courtesy Wendy Rahamut

Bread is sustenance, its comfort, it’s a staple in everyone’s diet. Regardless of allergies, there is bread for anyone.

I enjoy the benefits of a homemade loaf, I know what ingredients go into my bread and I know what ingredients I omit, like preservatives, mould inhibitors, and colouring, and I can control the types and amounts of fats and sugars.

Bread is easy to make, if you are a first-timer, then make your bread by hand, so you can actually feel the dough as it develops from a thick slurry to a firm and extensible dough.

Here are some tips to help you through your first loaf:

* Buy a new package of yeast in your supermarket, often people use expired yeast from their kitchen cupboards and wonder why the bread has not risen.

* Don’t throw in all your flour, this could lead to a tough loaf; use the last cup in your final kneading before the first rising.

* Too much fat or butter will lead to your dough being resistant to the rising process.

* Have your liquids at room temperature.

* If using butter melt it and mix it with your liquids. Cover your dough with plastic cling, this allows the dough to rise comfortably, using a towel will only dry out your dough.

* Always make sure your dough has doubled in volume before you move to the next step.

With this in mind here are some lovely recipes to get you started.


4 cups all-purpose flour

2½ tsp instant yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp brown sugar

½ cup milk

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 cup warm water (110-120F)

Combine three cups flour with yeast and sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl or with an electric mixer.

Combine milk with water and oil, add to flour and mix well, add the rest of the flour to knead to a soft smooth dough, knead for about 8 minutes.

Lightly grease dough and cover with plastic.

Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1½ hours.

Punch down, divide into 8 equal pieces.

Roll each into a smooth ball.

Place on a greased baking tray, let rise again until doubled in size about 45 to 60 minutes.

Bake in a cool oven, do not preheat just turn the oven temperature to 375F and let the rolls begin baking in a cool oven.

Bake for 25 minutes until dark golden.

Makes 8

Hops - Photo courtesy Wendy Rahamut

The best basic loaf

5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbs instant yeast

2 cups milk

2 eggs

1 tbsp sugar

½ cup butter or shortening or mixed, melted

2 tsp salt

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, place two cups flour yeast, salt and sugar.

Add milk, melted butter and eggs, beat until smooth.

Add the rest of the flour and knead to a soft smooth dough, about 5 minutes.

Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Punch down dough and divide into 2.

Prepare two loaf tins.

Roll dough out to a 10-inch rectangle. Roll up and place seam side down into the loaf tins. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the bottom of the loaves give a hollow sound when tapped.

Makes 2, 9x5 inch loaves Or about 16 dinner rolls.

For dinner rolls

Divide each piece of dough into 8 pieces, form into smooth balls. Brush tops with melted butter. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

For wholewheat option:

Replace 2 cups white flour with 2 cups wholewheat flour

Multigrain loaf

4-4½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tbs instant yeast

¼ cup honey

1 cup dried rolled oats

1 cup whole wheat flour or spelt

½ cup oat bran

½ cup cornmeal

1½ cup water

1 cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 tsp salt

¼ cup each poppy seeds or sesame seeds

1 egg white, lightly beaten

In a large work bowl or with an electric mixer, place two cups bakers flour, yeast, sugar.

Add oats, whole-wheat flour, oat bran and cornmeal, combine.

Combine water, milk, oil and salt. Add to flour mixture.

Knead, adding the rest of the Bakers flour until a soft smooth dough is obtained.

Knead gently by hand for a few minutes more.

Place in a large bowl, lightly grease top of dough and cover.

Let rise until doubled in volume. About 60 minutes

Punch down and divide into 2.

Grease and flour two 9-inch bread/loaf tins.

Form dough into loaves, place in tins, brush with egg white and sprinkle with seeds.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Cover and let rise for another 50 minutes.

Bake until well-risen and golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Makes 2 loaves.



"Give me bread"

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