I’m not good at a lot of things, but I do give good bread…

Yes, I know this is a really bad bread pun, but come on, I need to try and make these posts as exciting as possible. Any other suggestions for bread based puns are always welcome…

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with bread. I love it, but I hate the effect it has on my hips – especially after I’ve gone through 4 slices smothered in butter and marmalade…YUM!

Whilst I try and stay away from bread, the Husband loves it and when I’m not feeling too lazy I do try and send him off to work with sandwiches made with the home made stuff.

We don’t own a breadmaker – it was on my gadget list a while back but seeing as I now have the Kitchenaid, I can’t really justify it! I made the bread using Ina (the name I gave to the KA!) and her dough hook, but I have made it by hand in the past.

The recipe is adapted from Rachel Allen’s Food for Living and it makes 2 loaves, or up to 20 rolls. I ended up making 1 loaf and 6 decent sized rolls with mine.

This is a double rise recipe – I have tried single rise ones before but for me the loaves always turn out quite dense and heavy. I think when you take the time to prove the dough properly, you are rewarded with a nice, light loaf. Yes, it takes time, but I think you can’t rush these things.

Note that the recipe below can be made with all white, or wholemeal flour – feel free to mix up the ratio of white – wholemeal too to get the right loaf consistency.

Also, you can experiment with adding extras to the bread during it’s second knead – add in some seeds or maybe some cheese – don’t be scared to experiment. I’m going to try blue cheese and walnuts at some point soon.

Honey Wholemeal Bread

Ingredients

450ml warm water (approx 1 part boiling to 2 parts cold)

3 tbsp honey
3 tsp dried yeast
300g strong white flour
600g wholemeal flour
2 tsp salt
100ml olive oil or 100g butter, cut into cubes

In a small bowl / mug / jug mix the warm water with the honey, add the yeast and leave to stand for 5 minutes until frothy. You’ll know it’s ready when it gets a head like a nice beer.

Place the flours in a big mixing bowl (or the bowl of a electric mixer) and mix in the salt and then add the oil / rub in the butter. Pour most of the frothy liquid into the flour and mix to a dough – it shouldn’t be too wet and sticky; if it’s too dry add more warm water and if it’s too wet, add more flour.

Knead by hand on a floured surface for about 10 minutes (this takes about 5 minutes in a mixer) until the dough is smooth and springy. Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm for 2-3 hours until it’s doubled in size. It’s risen enough when it does not spring back when you push your finger onto the dough. for me, it took about 2 hours.

When it’s risen, knock back the dough by punching it down in the bowl and kneading on a floured surface for 1 minute. Allow to rest on the work surface, covered with a tea towel for 5 minutes before shaping.

Shape into your loaves / rolls and place them on a floured baking tray. Slash the loaves (but not the rolls) and sprinkle them with flour. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise again somewhere warm until they have doubled in size. The dough has risen enough when it does not spring back when you push your finger onto it (this may take another 45 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 200c/ gas mark 6.

Bake the bread in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the base. For rolls, this will only take 10-15 mins depending on their size.

Leave to cool on a wire rack, or devour whilst still warm with lots and lots of BUTTER!!
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