When I was growing up my mum and dad used to make bread all the time and I would often find it in my packed lunch. I often bake on days when we don’t have anywhere we need to be, simple bread takes time to rise (prove), it’s the original slow food, but it’s so much tastier than anything you can buy and a thrifty choice for those on a tight budget. The first recipe makes around 16 rolls or 2 full-sized loaves.
Simple Bread ( mum’s bread)
1Kg Strong Bread Flour (any will do)
1 sachet of yeast
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 tablespoon liquid honey
1 teaspoon salt
660ml water (1 pint) of lukewarm water
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of your dray ingredients and pour in the water, honey and oil. Spread the fingers on your hand to form a paddle shape and mix until well combined.
Empty the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for at least five minutes. ( push the dough with one hand, stretching it away from your body) leave your ball of dough in a warm place until it is twice as big (around 40 minutes)
Empty your ball of dough onto a floured surface again and press until the air is expelled. Form into 2 loaves or 16 buns and leave on an oiled baking sheet to roughly double in size.
Bake in a hot oven (200C) for around 20 minutes. Tap your buns on the bottom to check that they are done, they should sound hollow.
The second recipe is for Wheaten or Soda bread, it is even easier and takes a mere 40minutes from start to finish. We have relatives in Ireland and they would regularly send us home with a suitcase full of this delicious bread! Made with white flour, it’s known as Soda bread, with wholewheat it’s known as wheaten bread
Simple Soda Bread
450g of white or wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 level tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 230C
Sieve the flour, salt and baking soda into a large bowl.
Make a well in the middle, pour in the buttermilk and then mix with your fingers (spread your fingers apart to form a rigid comb shape). Mix until all of the flour is combined but don’t overdo it.Gently roll the dough into a ball and place on a floured baking sheet.
Using a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of your ball of dough and prick each quarter twice to let the fairies out.
Put into your oven for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200C and bake for a further 25 minutes. The bread will be ready when you tap on the bottom and it sounds hollow. Wrap in a tea towel immediately after you take it out of the oven.