The bakening – Artisan homemade bread

Over quarantine i’ve become quite the home cook, what initially started as hot foods quickly turned to desserts and now, here we are at the inevitable artisan bread making phase.
I’ve not quite gone as far as having my own sourdough starter yet (and I doubt I will) but certainly fresh baked loaves of bread are now quite commonplace in my kitchen.

I think by far the biggest thing I learnt from all my baking is that making bread at home is actually incredibly easy – I’ve heard horror stories of people kneading dough for 15 minutes but it’s actually not required, at least not for the recipe I’ve been using, I’ve been making small changes and have tried a few variations now, and i’m comfortable to share this with you guys.
This recipe is adapted from this one from Sallys baking addiction however mine is faster and easier to work with, from personal testing I didn’t notice any real improvement from her suggested method of fridge proofing, and I find that baking same day helps in making a higher loaf, in addition this method does not require a pot/dutchoven.

Recipe

  • 420g strong white bread flour (have tried sainsburys, lidl, and allinsons, all work fine)
  • 320ml Water
  • 2 tsp (7g) Allinson’s yeast (£1 from tesco)
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt (I use maldon sea salt flakes)

Method

  • Throw all dry ingredients into mixing bowl, whisk or otherwise ensure yeast is evenly distributed
  • Add water, then mix everything by hand for a few minutes, ensure you scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all the flour
  • If adding wet ingredients (eg. garlic/onions/olives) do so now
  • Try your best to form it into a large ball in the bowl, using a spatula can help scraping the sides
  • Cover with clingfilm and rest for 1hr – warm place preferred
  • When dough has doubled, flour a worktop and spatula the dough onto the surface
  • Try your best to fold the outsides into the middle like you’re making a huge dumpling, this stretches the skin of the dough and will be the outside of your loaf
  • Bit of flour to stop it from sticking, then flip the dough, and place onto a baking sheet or dusted baking tray
  • Cover and leave to rest another hour, preheat oven to 250*C, place a small roasting or loaf tray at the bottom of the oven and kettle boil some water.
  • Place loaf (on it’s baking tray) onto middle shelf of oven, pour boiling water into the tray at bottom of the oven and close oven
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes – tap with knife, should sound hollow when done

Extra ingredients:
I’ve tried a few different things so far, all have been successful. Why not try…
– Thinly sliced caramelised onions (wait for them to cool)
– Fried minced garlic pieces
– 1tsp of onion powder, and garlic powder