Homemade bread isn’t difficult to prepare and it has a personalised touch that can’t be copied by any factory machine. Plus, it’s so much more nutritious to make it yourself.
Basic white bread:
30g dried yeast
30ml honey or sugar
625ml tepid water
1kg strong white bread flour
Extra flour for dusting
Turn basic white bread into a fruit loaf:
Pinch of cinnamon
Small pinch ground cloves
200g dried apricots
100g dried dates
1. Dissolve the yeast and honey in half the water.
2. On a clean surface or in a large bowl make a heap of the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in all the dissolved yeast mixture.
3. Using the fingers of one hand and in circular movements from the centre moving outwards, slowly bring in more and more of the flour until all the yeast moisture is soaked up. Then pour the other half of the tepid water into the centre and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough (certain flours may need a little more water).
4. Place the spices and dried fruit in a food processor or chop very finely. Add to the dough and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
5. Flour both hands well and lightly flour the top of the dough. Pat it into a round shape and place on a baking sheet. Using a knife, score the dough deeply – this will allow it to prove easily. Cover the dough with cling wrap and leave in a warm place to prove and double in size (this should take about 40 minutes).
6. Once the dough has doubled in size, place it on a lightly floured surface and knock the air out of it by kneading for about a minute. Place in a greased and floured baking tin. Allow the dough to prove a second time until it has doubled in size again. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200ºC.
7. Once proved, sprinkle the top lightly with a little extra flour and then gently place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.
8. Remove the bread from the tin and return the loaf to the oven for another 10 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool for 30 minutes.