Happy New Year. With summer comes memories of childhood bach visits and the daily bike rides to the general store for a loaf of white uncut bread – if we’d remembered to order it the day before. If not, it was back home to make scones for lunch.
Today’s recipe harks back to the good old days of home made bread without a breadmaker. It’s guaranteed to be useless to anyone who is hoping to drop a few of the Christmas kilos that have creeped on. The upside is that it tastes good and is easy to make while enjoying the gloriously long summer days.
I’ll blame Mum – after all, if she hadn’t of gotten herself a brand new Kenny for Christmas, I wouldn’t be forced to show her how to use it. I’ve tried to sell her the, “leave it on the bench and you’ll use it everyday” line. So, I’ve been doing just that – making Kenny a part of our everyday life.
It all started with the humble pizza. I’m a “thinner is better” type when it comes to pizza bases. It got me thinking, what if I was to shape the dough into a loaf and let it prove for a second time? Could I throw together a tasty loaf of bread rather than have to buy one each time we went out?
Stupid question as I already knew the answer. Of course I could. And so the week of the loaf was born. Here’s what I’ve done and some toppings that have worked well. Of course, you can pretty much put anything on top so my challenge to you is to have a play with the recipe and add what you like. You’ll soon get the hang of throwing together a loaf in no time at all. (There’s nothing new about the recipe, it’s pretty much the same as my other breads featured.)
I use active dry yeast for this recipe – which means you have to activate the yeast in water before using it.
I’m also using and referring to Kenny (with a dough hook) throughout – of course you can make the recipe by hand very effectively. And, let’s face it, unless you are being looked after at your Mum’s house like I am, I’m guessing that most of you won’t have your mixer on holiday with you. Which is not to say that you shouldn’t take it away with you – if you have the space, I would!
What you’ll need
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
500g high grade flour (or breadmaking flour)
2 tsp salt
1-2 Tbsp oil – optional and the type depends on the flavour you want. I tend to use olive in most cases.
(I have a friend who also throws in a fresh egg from her chooks – you’ll get a richer dough if you do this and will need a little less water.)
My three favourites from this week:
– fresh cherries, halved, mixed with a little brown sugar and chopped rosemary
– caramelised onion
– sultanas, orange rind and a teaspoon of cinnamon – I plumped the sultanas in hot water overnight and added to the dough mixture (mixed in towards the end of kneading, rather than put on top – or they’ll burn)
To make it
Put 200ml of warm tap water into a bowl or measuring jug. Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar and give it a very quick mix with a spoon or fork. Set aside for five minutes or so until the yeast begins to bubble and foam.
Meanwhile, put your flour, salt and oil (if using) into the bowl of your mixer. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and let your dough hook do the work. Add another 150ml water and combine into the dough.
Turn the Kenny on to medium-high and knead the mixture for a few minutes until smooth. It will be a little wetter than you might. Don’t stress, it will work. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with cling film for 20-30 minutes.
When the dough has doubled in size, knock back with your hands.
Shape into a loaf and put on a baking paper lined tray. Set aside to rise again – 30-40 minutes. You can always use a warm place or airing cupboard to speed things along (I’ve been known to use the windscreen of a car if in a super hurry!).
Turn oven to 200C.
After dough has risen again, top the loaf with your favourite topping – I often also drizzle over some olive oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Cool before cutting and devouring. This recipe makes one large or two medium sized loaves.