Once again, I started my day wide awake at 6am! I think the universe must be plotting against me because I struggle so much to get out of bed when I have go to work yet when I have the option of a lie-in, I am itching to get up and start my day!
Oh well, it means I am managing to get lots done at home (currently blitzing a few rooms in a bit of a spring clean) and it is also leaving me lots of time for one of my favourite pastimes, baking!
I feel a bit cheeky calling this a recipe as it is a bread mix from a packet (by Aldi) but, having looked at the ingredients, it only contains what I would be measuring out anyway so I don’t think I have cheated but maybe just took a slight short-cut!
As a fan of most cooking programmes, I am enjoying Paul Hollywood’s ‘Bread’ and have been itching to have a go at perfecting a bread recipe. Although I used a pre-mixed bag, it was the method and kneading I wanted to practise and after having used this mixture, I will have a go at another recipe knowing what my dough should look and feel like.
This was so simple to make…
Simply tip the contents of the packet into a mixing bowl, add lukewarm water and, with your fingers, mix it together until you have a rough dough.
Next is the kneading. After watching King Hollywood, he recommended using an oiled surface to do this over a floured one but I actually found the oiled surface turned the dough very sticky so I swapped to flour mid-way through kneading!
After resting, I shaped the dough into the loaf I wanted, sliced it along the top (this helps with the rising and also makes it look rustic!) then popped it somewhere warm to rise…in this case it was in the airing cupboard covered with a damp tea towel.
Here it is after rising and doubling in size.
Then it was time for the oven. I followed another Hollywood tip by putting an oven tray of water on the shelf below the bread in the oven which allows the bread to steam and brown evenly with a good crust.
And here it is…
It filled the house with the amazing smell of freshly baked bread and it took all my willpower to not rip into it as soon as it came out of the oven!
After it had cooled slightly, I cut a test slice and slathered over some salty butter and homemade raspberry jam…delicious!
It was soft on the inside and crisp and chewy on the outside. Such a simple recipe but you can’t beat good bread.
So, although I am not usually a fan of ready-mixed baking products, this did produce a great loaf and it was so easy. I think these bread mixes play a role in helping bread novices, like myself, get used to the basics before going on to experiment with some new recipes.