Oh how lovely to bake bread every day, In my dream life, that’s what I’d do, but in reality no can do. But I do indulge, when the time allows, and there is nothing more comforting than home made bread fresh out of the oven, the aroma is one of the worlds most favourite smells.
I remember 8 years back, when I was selling my house in the U.K freshly baked bread was a more regular occurrence, I’m sure it clinched the sale too 😉 That homely aroma, wafting through the house.
Baking bread actually is a simple affair, and nothing to be scared of, very few ingredients often in our cupboards, and even if it doesn’t make the grade on your first attempt it will still taste delicious.
Of all the dishes I make my visitors, friends & clients, they always ask ‘Home made bread ?’ I reply ‘Why of course’ ‘How wonderful, aren’t you clever’.
To share bread, dipped into Olive oil and a reduced vinegar, or slathered with creamy butter, or topped with a mature cheese, what can be better ?
I tend to add to my loaf, what ever I can find growing in the herb garden, or seeds, nuts or dried fruits form the store cupboard. I also make a huge loaf, you can’t beat the wow factor, or divided the dough into two, and freeze one for when time doesn’t allow.
This recipe if for Rosemary & Sun dried Tomato loaf.
1 kg of Strong white bread flour.
560-600 ml of Warm water.
2 Cubes of fresh yeast / or 2 sachets of fast action dried yeast.
1 tsp of Sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 glug of olive oil
1 small hand of rosemary leaves, chopped.
2 tbsp of Sun dried tomatoes drained and chopped roughly.
- Put flour In a large bowl add salt.
- Add yeast to the warm water with sugar allow to froth for 10 mins.
- Make a well in the flour, and slowly add the water & oil, you may not need it all, bring the flour together to make a dough.
- When the dough come into a ball, take out and knead in the rosemary & tomatoes.
- Flour a surface and knead, & stretch for 10 mins smooth and elastic.
- To test if you dough is kneaded enough, press your thumb into the dough and it should spring back, if not knead some more.
- Lightly oil the large bowl, and place the dough in, cover with a damp cloth, and leave in a warm place to rise, until doubled in size. Approx 45 mins.
- Once risen, punch the dough down, knead lightly on floured surface & shape into required shape & makes slashes with a sharp knife across the top, this will allow the dough to rise more.
- Place on a lined baking sheet & cover once more with a damp cloth and allow to rise again. Approx 30 mins.
- Heat oven to 175 degrees, once up to temperature, put a small oven proof bowl in bottom of oven with water in to create a steamy atmosphere. Add the loaf on the middle shelf, and cook for approx 30 – 4o mins.
The Loaf is ready when you tap the base and it sounds hollow.
Leave to cool, if you can wait.