Classic bread loaf
(at time of publication)
- 500g high-grade white flour, or white flour/wholemeal flour mix, plus extra flour, to knead
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon reduced-fat spread suitable for baking
- 1 sachet instant dry yeast (see tip)
- 300ml warm water (see tip)
- spray oil, to grease, and for proving
- 2 tablespoons skim milk
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, to sprinkle (optional)
1 Preheat oven to 200°C. Sift flour into a bowl. Stir in salt and sugar. Rub in spread.
2 Sprinkle over yeast. Stir to spread through flour evenly.
3 Add water to flour. Use a spoon to stir and combine.
4 Mix together to form a soft, slightly sticky dough, then transfer to a lightly floured surface.
5 Knead for 5-7 minutes until a smooth, elastic dough is formed. Place in a warmed, lightly greased bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel or lightly greased plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to double in size. This will take 30-45 minutes.
6 Place dough on a lightly floured work surface – it should now feel quite springy. Punch down dough, then shape into a round or oval shape. Cover and leave to rise for 30 more minutes.
7 Slash the top of the loaf with a knife. Brush with a little milk. Sprinkle with seeds (if using). Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
- Sun-dried tomato bread or focaccia: At step 1 Add 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs to the basic recipe. Replace spread with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. At step 6, punch down dough and add 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped. Work into dough by kneading, using a little extra flour if necessary. Shape dough into an oval. Leave to rise. Once risen, make small indentations in dough using knuckles. Spray with a little olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Half-way through cooking, scatter with another 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes. Serve sprinkled with fresh basil.
- Onion and cheese bread: At step 3 Once you have added water, add 1/2 small onion (finely chopped, cooked in a little oil, and cooled), to basic ingredients with 1-2 teaspoons dried sage. Before baking, sprinkle 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese on top of loaf. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Gluten-free raisin and cinnamon bread: Place 500g Simple Gluten Free bread mix in a bowl with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 3 tablespoons raisins. Mix yeast with 450ml warm water. Add to bread mix. Use an electric beater to mix ingredients for about 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Transfer dough to a lightly greased loaf tin. Cover and leave to rise for 30-40 minutes. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. Brush with 2 tablespoons honey before serving.
The proving of the bread dough relies on warm conditions so here are a few tips to help create the ideal environment.
- Keep the kitchen as warm as possible – preheating the oven will help.
- Make sure all ingredients are warm before you start. The water needs to be warm, not hot, for yeast to work.
- Make sure all the utensils are warm before you start.
- How long your bread takes to rise will vary depending on how warm your kitchen is. If you make bread during summer, the proving process could be much faster.
- Cook loaves in the centre of your oven.
- If using dried, granulated yeast, use 2 teaspoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar. Sprinkle sugar over warm water first, then sprinkle in dried yeast. Set aside for 15 minutes until frothy. Add to flour at step 3.
Nutrition Info (per serve)
Total fat 2g
–Saturated fat 1g
Dietary fibre 2g
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