Homemade bread … fresh, yummy, healthy! Free from the preservatives that you may find in some pre-packaged loaves and makes your house smell like a bakery – you are on to a winner. It is actually really easy to make bread – you just need the right ingredients, some manpower and time! For a dinner party we like to show off a bit with a Plaited Loaf that looks really special and more importantly, tastes superb!
- 550g Organic wholemeal bread flour, plus a little extra for kneading
- 2 level teaspoons salt
- 1 level teaspoon sugar
- 1 sachet easy bake yeast (7g)
- 400 ml hand-hot water (100ml boiling, 300ml cold)
- 15ml Olive Oil
- Pre-heat the oven to its lowest setting, measure out the flour and place it on an ovenproof plate and warm for 10 mins (Delia’s trick)
- Turn the oven off and tip the warm flour into a large mixing bowl, with the salt, sugar and easy-blend yeast and mix together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water. Mix with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Finish off by mixing with your hands until you have a smooth dough that leaves the bowl clean.
- Sprinkle the work surface with flour and tip out the dough. Knead for 10 minutes. I use less flour than other recipes – as I knead I work with the texture of the dough, adding more flour as required until the dough has a smooth texture.
- Put it back into the mixing bowl, cover with olive-oiled-cling-film and find a warm place to leave the dough for 1hr.
- When the dough has risen, place it on a clean work surface and with floured hands, knead for around 5 minutes to ‘knock it back’ – the dough will become smooth and elastic.
- Roll into one long sausage, visualise the middle of the roll and with a knife cut half of the brad into three long strands. Plait the three dough ‘sausages’ together and fold over the top of the other half to create a whole loaf with a plait on the top.
- Preheat the oven to 220C.
- Cover the loaf and return to a warm place for 30 minutes until it has risen to about one-and-a-half times its size.
- Bake the loaf in the oven for 10 minutes at 220C.
- Reduce the heat to 190C and bake for a further 30 minutes.
- The loaf is cooked when it is risen and golden and sounds hollow when tapped underneath.