Master bread recipe
(at time of publication)
- 7 cups plain white or high grade flour (use what you have)
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 2 sachets instant yeast
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Combine – to make warm liquid, not hot:
- 1 ¼ cups hot water
- 1 ¼ cups cold milk
1 Mix the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. Stir in the liquid, using more or less liquid as required to make a soft dough. If you add too much liquid, you can knead in extra flour.
2 Turn the dough onto a floured bench and knead well, stretching and turning the dough for 5-10 minutes until it becomes smooth, elastic and satiny. Add flour as required during kneading to prevent the dough sticking. Less and less will be needed as the dough is worked.
3 Place the dough into a clean greased bowl, flip it over once to grease the top surface of the dough, cover and leave it to rise. I usually place the bowl in a plastic bag, which acts like a greenhouse by trapping warm moist air around the dough, keeping it at the optimum temperature to promote rising. If you have a microwave you can speed the process along by giving the dough 1 minute on low power (10-20%) then allowing it to rest for 10 minutes before repeating with 1 minute on low power. If you don’t have a microwave, set the dough aside in a warm place until doubled in size. When the dough has risen to double its bulk, knead it lightly and shape as required.
4 For loaves, divide the dough in 2, roll or press the dough into rectangles slightly longer than the tin. Roll up tightly from the long edge (like a Swiss roll), tuck the ends under and place, with the seam side down, into a well-greased loaf pan. Cover loosely with a clean cloth (or return to its plastic bag).
5 When it has risen for about 10 or 15 minutes, cut diagonal slashes in the top with a serrated knife.
6 Leave until doubled then bake at 200°C for around 30 minutes, until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Nutrition Info (per serve)
Total fat 7.2g
–Saturated fat 1.5g
Dietary fibre 3.1g
- Kaiser rolls: Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Roll each piece on the bench so it resembles a frankfurter or cigar. Tie into a granny knot and tuck the end underneath. Place on a greased tray. When doubled in size brush gently with beaten egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for around 20 minutes.
- Wholemeal bread: Substitute up to 1/2 the flour with wholemeal flour and continue as for white bread. (Total cost of all ingredients: $2.77 / per loaf $1.38)
- Mixed seed bread: Use 3 cups white flour, 2 cups wholemeal flour and make up 2 cups of mixed seeds. I use a combination of pumpkin, sunflower, linseed, cracked wheat, sesame and poppy seeds. Increase the yeast to 2 1/2 sachets. The dough is much denser than for ‘all flour’ bread and will not rise as much. The bread is delicious with cheese and lovely toasted if you like dense, seedy breads. (Total cost of all ingredients: $6.97 / per loaf $3.48)
- Spicy fruit bread: Use 2 1/2 sachets yeast. Replace sugar with 1/2 cup packed brown sugar. Add 1/2 cup currants, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup mixed peel and 1/2 cup sultanas. Mix into the dry ingredients 3 1/2 teaspoons mixed spice, 3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons all spice and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. Use 1/2 cup of oil and add 2 eggs. Reduce liquid to 1/2 cup each water and milk. (Total cost of all ingredients: $8.50 / per loaf $4.25)
Some flours absorb more water than others – in other words, use your judgement when adding liquid. The flour may respond differently from batch to batch and variety to variety. A soft, moist dough is easier to work with than a hard, dry one.
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