Classic bread loaf
Time to make: 2 hrs 5 mins , depending on the warmth of your kitchen
( Hands-on time: 1 hr 30 mins )
(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)
- oil spray, to grease, and for proving
- 2 tablespoons trim 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.
Nutrition Info (per serve)
Total fat 2g
Saturated fat 1g
Dietary fibre 2g
- 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.
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