I am not great at baking at all - everything kind of turns out flat, burnt and a bit too crunchy! I would love to bake our own bread but I think it just might be a bit beyond my skills set! Is there a foolproof method for making nice, edible bread? How long can you keep it for?
I love making my own bread, but never seem to have the time. I had some birthday money and decided to treat myself to a bread maker. I just went for a middle of the road one about £70 I think and I have found it invaluable. I now make all my own bread, rolls, pizza dough, foccacia etc and can honestly say I haven't bought bread etc from the supermarket for months. I often put all the ingredients in at night, set the timer and wake up to the gorgeous smell of freshly baked bread. I still enjoy making a loaf by hand when I get the time but my breadmaker has been a fantastic investment.
My fool-proof method is in the breadmaker! Not sure I'd be too good at it otherwise! Definitely worth making space in the kitchen for one of these gadgets though, especially when it will also make cakes, pizza dough and jam! And definitely one with a timer, lovely to wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread.
I use the recipe on the back of the doves farm white flour packet. I use 50/50 whole meal/white flour, I find this is better for sandwiches as you can still taste the filling, up the salt to a tea spoon and add a little extra water as whole meal needs a little more moisture.
Allways make sure your waters hand hot.
Don't over need
Let the bread prove somewhere warm and draft free and not to hot.
Make sure you ovens nice and hot and don't put the bread too near the top of the oven middles better.
You can gently mist the top of the bread to stop it getting to brown or crunchy.
I allways check on mine at around 20 mins. I turn out and tap the bottom and if I get a nice hollow sound then it's done.
I allways make double as the first loaf goes so quickly and the seconeds not too far behind.
I was thinking of getting a breadmaker and having a go. I've never made bread before but I wondered if anyone had a breadmaker they could recomment. The budget for it is quite tight so I'd like to spend as little as possible, I saw one in argos for £23.99 which is about the right price.
When my boys were little you couldn't really buy organic bread ready made so I made all our bread myself - kneading and all - with no breadmaker and it was fantastic even if I do say so myself! I became expert at it but guess what?.......After a long break since organic bread became available I can't seem to get it right now ::) So…..yep…..my breadmaker is fab!!!!
I loved my breadmaker, but since it broke I started making my bread by hand and now actually find it easier and tastier. I use 3lb of flour (2lb white, 1lb wholemeal), 2 tsp of sugar, 2 tsp salt and 2 tsp doves farm yeast and about 1 and half pints of hand hot water. Kneed for 10 mins (ish!!), leave til doubled anywhere in house, knock back and split between 3 greased tins, leave til it just comes over tops of tins then into oven for about 30-40 mins. I can do this once a week and we are sorted for bread, which seems to take less actual working time than getting all the stuff out, measuring and setting machine 3 times a week, although it is a bit tougher on the old arms!!!
Another breadmaker fan here- ours is quite an ancient model by now- I think they are much cheaper and faster now (my fastest loaf is 2h40- my dads has a 1 hour loaf- which is very impressive- although not as good as one done taking longer).
Would love to have time to use it more often- greatest respect to those of you who have built it into your daily routine….
My breadmaker makes loaves that are way too small. I also find that any bread I make machine or by hand they are always really dense, am I expecting too much for them to be a bit fluffier?
I had the most gorgeous bread on Saturday so I asked the chef how she made it, 'oh I just bung stuff in and it comes out like that' :o I was so envious, I was hoping for a secret magic ingredient at least!
I use about 2/3 white flour and 1/3 wholemeal (sometimes half and half) as wholemeal alone I find too heavy. I also make the odd white loaf as a treat, not that the usual wholemeal mix isn't lovely! I do like white bread for toast though, as does DH. I've been making my own bread by hand for about 2 and a half years now and I find it quite disappointing when I do buy the odd loaf, though I do say so myself! I also add some toasted sesame, pumpkin, popppy and sunflower seeds for added tastiness.
In terms of keeping, I find it only lasts a day or so out (which when I first started to make my own bread made me wonder just what they put in shop-bought loaves that makes it stay fresh for so long!) so what I tend to do is slice it once it's cool and then keep it in the freezer. We've got a frost-free one so it doesn't stick together too badly and I then just take out as many slices as I need to make sarnies etc.
I'd definitely recommend giving it a go, whether by had or with a machine as it's one of the most satisfying things in world I find, to eat bread you've made yourself!
I usually do 50/50 wholemeal and white flour and follow the instructions on the Doves Farm packet. A couple of sessions each week will give you very firm biceps!
To make more interesting bread that is nice with pasta dishes, salads etc I make lots of tiny rolls and put them almost touching each other into a greased roasting tin. Dot the tops with garlic butter, sprinkle the whole lot with grated cheese (so it gets between the rolls); when they have risen and you have cooked them it all comes out in one big delicious creation that you can put in the middle of the table for everyone to break a bit off.
It actually tastes nicer made with just white flour, but it depends what's in the cupboard! Sometimes I just use use basic white flour (cheaper than strong bread flour) if I've run out of proper sort. It doesn't seem to make much difference to the rising.