I used to own a bread making maching but it broke long ago and I never bothered to replace. I'm sure that it's a great thing if you want to prepare overnight but there is something very therapuetic about going back to basics and hand kneading the dough....and in any case you can make it quicker than the machines!
So here's my quick method:
1lb white bread mix (ciabatta, crusty white or any supermarket variety)
*1lb mixed grain bread mix (sunflower seed mix, wholemeal or any other similar)
10fl oz warm water
*You can also use 1lb of bread flour instead but if you do - make sure to add a sachet of quick yeast and a pinch of salt. The bread mixes don't need yeast as it's already included in the mix.
- Empty the 2 bread mixes into a bowl
- Add a splash of Olive Oil
- Now add 10fl oz of lukewarm water
- Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come away from the bowl - it will be quite sticky at this point.
- Turn out onto a floured surface
- Sprinkle with flour and knead for approx 2 minutes - If you've not done this before...all you have to do is fold the dough in half and then push away with the palm of your hand, repeat this several times until the dough starts to feel springy and pliable.
- Now put the dough back in the bowl and cover. Leave to prove for about 30 minutes
- After about half an hour your dough should look like this:
- Now bump it down again...knead it for 2 - 3 minutes and slap back in the bowl - leave for another 30 minutes!
- Third time around it will rise even quicker and now you are ready for the final knead and placing into bread tins. I use 1lb loaf tins lined with cake tin liners but you could also use grease-proof paper if you don't have these in your store cupboard. Bump down one last time - when you empty the dough onto your work surface it should leave the bowl in one clean blob! Knead again and divide into 2 portions and place into your 2 loaf tins. Actually - here I've also created a pizza base which I'll add some yummy toppings to once its risen for the final time (we were a bit hungry).
- Leave to 'prove' one last time until risen. Put your oven onto 230 C and when up to heat and your loaves have risen - slam them in!
- Bake for 25 minutes...remove them from their tins and bake for a further 8 minutes or until when you tap their bottoms (excuse the phrase) they sound hollow.
- Turn out onto a cooling tray, cover with a tea towel and allow to cool. And here we are, deep pan pizza with yummy toppings and lovely tasty loaves. The only problem is they taste sooooooo good we've eaten our way through half the loaf and scoffed the pizza already!!!
And....if you don't eat it all at once - it freezes beautifully!