The most basic presence on our tables, yet the most satisfactory to bake at home. Bread has certainly become a luxury nowadays – or at least the good quality kind. None of us have much time, but once you start baking your own bread, it becomes an obsession, a ritual.
The satisfaction you get from it is addictive and once you get the result you like, buying bread will seem a folly. Forget those slices in a bag and start having the real thing, it’s simpler than you think. We recommend you include it in your Sunday list of things to do, between loads of washing, or fit it into that quiet night you get to yourself, when you can knead in between the latest episodes of your favourite TV show.
250g strong white flour
250g wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 sachet of yeast or a teaspoon dissolved in part of the water you will use
3 tablespoons (but we prefer a generous dash) of extra virgin olive oil
310 ml warm water
your favourite variety of seeds, we like using pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds for finishing
Step 1 – Just like you, we don’t have one of those huge wooden surfaces where TV chefs work their dough. But a large bowl will do just fine. Start by incorporating the flour(s), yeast, salt and sugar, give it a stir.
Step 2 – Add the olive oil and the water to the mix, starting working the dough like you mean it. The mix will get stuck to your hands but don’t worry, simply rub them together to take the bits off and keep kneading.
Step 3 – Work it for at least ten minutes, and you should have an uniform, elastic and slightly humid dough. Let it rest for 30-45 minutes to prove.
Step 4 – Then work it again for at least ten minutes and let it rest again for 30-45 minutes. If you are using seeds, you can add them now, and place some on top for decoration. Alternatively, you can cover your bread in flour or semola. If you are using a mould, place your dough in it now and let it prove there.
Step 5 – While your bread rests for the second time you can start warming up the oven at 250°C. Once your loaf has risen you can place it in the tray where you will be baking it (if you are not using a mould you can place a stone tray in the oven to give it that stone-baked texture). Make a shallow cut on the surface where you want it to open. Place in the oven a small tray with a little hot water in so it creates some steam. Place the bread in the oven. After 25 minutes, remove the tray with the water and lower the temperature to 200°C. Let it bake for another 25 minutes. Et voila, your bread is ready!