17 May 2014

Bread & Butter.

300ml double cream

250g of chosen flour, i like a mix of half spelt, half seeded granary bread flour, but you can use white bread flour, quinoa, buckwheat, anything
1/2 sachet of yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs butter or rape seed oil
140ml warm water
Any extras of your choice to flavour the bread.

The best weekend mornings are those with home made bread, the fresh dough smell is bliss. Why make your own bread? If you have to ask, then you've never made your own, there's nothing quite like it. It's also very simple to make home made butter. My personal belief is that I would rather eat a small amount of real butter, than a low fat spread full of artificial chemicals.
For a few years I have owned a bread maker. I only use it for making dough, then that dough can be shaped into pizza or a loaf, rolls or cinnamon buns, I have used it endlessly.

Put the cream in a mixer and let it mix until the cream turns pale yellow (curd) and a milky liquid (whey) is present as the cream is separating, this takes around 10 mins of beating. Throw away the curds and add salt to your butter, which will be creamy and easy to spread. The home made butter will not keep like the store bought so I recommend freezing some and just keeping what you will use of it in the fridge.

Place all of your ingredients in the bread maker and set to 'Dough' setting.
After pulling out your dough, it may need a little extra flour if it's sticky. Add any extras you like (see below) and shape. Finally, cover with a cloth and leave to sit in a warm place for 20 mins until it rises, during which time you can pre-heat the oven to 180C. Baking time depends on the size, I find rolls often take 15-20mins, whereas a loaf can be 30-40mins. To tell if it is done, turn the loaf over and knock on the bottom, it should make a hollow sound. Allow it to cool (if you cut into hot bread from the oven, it will cause the inside to become sticky and flat.)

If you want to make the bread a little bit more interesting, you can add other ingredients to the dough.
Walnut and dates are my current favourite, I also like cinnamon & dried apple pieces, or mozzarella & sun-dried tomatoes. Other good ones include sweet potato bread or caramelised onion bread. If you add these into the bread maker it will still flavour the bread, but the bread maker will break down your ingredients into the dough and you wont get chunks. How much you add is really up to your personal taste and the size of the loaf, use your own judgement