There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread wafting from your kitchen, and with bread-making machines available at more and more reasonable prices, it’s never been easier to make bread at home.
But what if you don’t have a machine? What if you simply don’t have room for one in your small kitchen, or you fear you wouldn’t use it regularly and it would be a waste of money? Well, you can still make bread the old-fashioned way – by hand. And it’s easier than you might expect!
Simple Hand-Made Bread Recipe
- 500g strong bread flour
- 1.25 tsp salt
- 7g (1 sachet) dried yeast
- 25g butter
- 300mls warm water (use 1 part boiling to 2 parts cold)
- flour for kneading
- Mix together the strong bread flour and salt, rub in the butter, then stir in the yeast.
- Stir in the water and mix to a soft dough by hand.
- Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 10 minutes by hand (or 5 minutes in an electric mixer with a bread hook) till the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Cover and rest the dough for 5 minutes
- Shape the dough and place in a greased 2lb bread tin or on a greased baking tray.
- Cover with a clean, wet cloth and leave in a warm place to rise for 1.5 – 2 hours.
- Uncover and bake in the oven at 230C for 30-35 minutes. (If it sounds hollow when you knock on the top, it’s ready!)
- Immediately turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Wrap in greaseproof paper when cool and store in the breadbox. It will be fine in there for several days, but I guarantee it won’t last that long!
Experiment with different types of flour – wholemeal, brown and white – or even try mixing half and half of two different types to see what works best for you. Different brands will give different results, as will different types. I find wholemeal gives a denser bread, whereas white tends to rise a little better and results in a “lighter” loaf. To get the best of both worlds, I like to mix a little wholemeal flour in with the white. It tastes gorgeous!
Xan can’t get enough of my homemade bread, which is great because I really enjoy making it. It’s definitely worth the time it takes, although to be fair, it doesn’t take much dedicated time really, as the initial prep only takes about 10-15 minutes and the rest of the time you leave the dough to do its own thing and then pop it in the oven. Easy!