Can anyone think of anything better than cutting into a still warm slice of bread, and eating it with nothing else but a dab of salted butter? Thought not :-)
For the last few weeks, I have been baking all our bread at home. It all started when I took a look at the ingredient list on supermarket bread, did a double take, and went no way... there were things on it that need a degree in chemistry to understand. So I told Kay that I would have a shot at baking my own bread. Back in the UK, I had a cute compact Morphy Richards bread machine that I used to practically use everyday. However, it was a 220 watt machine, and as with most of our electronic stuff had to stay behind. But I was lucky enough to be given a bread machine by a friend here, and while I normally used it to make doughs for things like pizza and naan, I never actually thought of making bread in it (yeah, I know!!)
I like my breads dense enough to make sandwiches with, and with a softer crust. The Morphy Richards came with a recipe booklet that included a recipe for sandwich bread that I really liked. So I looked it up, and adapted it a bit, and voila! Fresh bread, practically every day.
Aditi and I love nibbling on slices that are lovely and warm fresh from the oven, and a few days ago, Aditi told me she wanted her bread plain with nothing on it. From a kid that loves her butter, jam and Nutella, that is a compliment, for sure :-)
Adapted from the Morphy Richards bread maker recipe book.
1 and 1/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp softened butter
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp powdered milk
2 cups white bread or plain flour
1 1/4 cup wholewheat bread flour
1½ tsp yeast
Whisk together yeast, water and ½ tbsp sugar. Keep aside for 2 minutes. In a deep bowl, add the flour, salt, rest of the sugar, milk powder and butter. Slowly add the water, and knead to a soft dough. Add a little more water if too dry, or a little more flour if too wet.
Note: If you have a bread machine, just add all the ingredients in the listed order, and set your machine to the dough cycle. It saves a lot of time and washing up! If you do this, skip the step above and below.
Roll the dough in a ball, pop into a greased bowl, and keep in a warm place to rise to almost ½ of its original size, preferably double. This usually takes about ½ - 1 hour.
Take out the risen dough, punch down, knead again for 2 minutes or so. Then shape the dough into a cigar shape, and pop into a greased loaf tin. Leave in a warm place again for 1 hour to rise (or you can heat the oven to its lowest setting, and put the tin in the oven, like I do, I feel it makes the bread rise better)
Once the dough has risen again to fill the tin, roughly 3/4 its size, turn up the heat in the oven to 175 C or 350 F, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the crust is a lovely golden brown colour.
Take out of the oven, and brush a little melted butter on top, which will soften the crust a bit more. Take out of the tin, and let cool on a rack. You can cut it while it’s still warm (it will be slightly crumbly, but delicious), but if you’re freezing it, make sure it’s completely cold before putting in the freezer. Don't wrap it up before its completely cold.
Another note: You can replace the wholewheat with just white flour if you want white bread. But don't replace all the white with wholewheat, as it doesn't work that way round.