We took home made bread for granted in our house when we were children growing up in County Durham. I absolutely loved the crust of a freshly baked loaf and would eat it dripping with butter and home made jam within seconds of it being brought out of the oven. Just the memory is making my mouth water!
I have a feeling that bread making is becoming a forgotten skill and that there is a perception of it being too difficult, which is not the case at all. Hopefully this recipe will encourage people to give bread making a try. It’s also another good “rainy day” recipe to try with children. It’s not an exact science and every batch of bread tends to be a little different. It’s worth having a go anyway just for the lovely smell permeating the house whilst it’s baking!
For this recipe you will need:
550g strong bread flour (I used Matthews Cotswold Crunch Strong Flour, which was delicious!)
1 rounded teaspoon of salt
1 sachet of dried yeast
150mls of milk
150mls hot water
- put the flour into a large mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour
- stir in the salt
- stir in the dried yeast
- make a well in the middle of the flour and pour in the milk and hot water
- using either a wooden spoon or your hands, mix everything together well
- put a very light sprinkling of flour onto a work surface and tip the bread mix onto this
- start kneading! (This is another of those occasions when you can give vent to any feelings of anger or frustration – take them out on the bread dough instead of your nearest and dearest!)
- Knead the dough for about 5 or 10 minutes, or until it is looking smooth and elasticated
Try not to use too much extra flour at this kneading stage as it will alter the balance of ingredients and could make the dough too dry. Try a drop of vegetable oil on the work surface instead. If the dough seems too sticky don’t worry as the texture will gradually change as you knead.
- shape the dough into a ball
- lightly oil a bowl and put the ball of dough into it
- cover the dough with a lightly oiled piece of cling film and put it to one side to rise.
Don’t put the rising dough anywhere too warm as it will rise too quickly and this will affect both the flavour and texture of the bread. The dough needs to double in size and this should ideally take about 1½ hours. The slower the rise, the better the bread
- when the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Use your knuckles to gently press it flat again. This is called “knocking back” the dough
- divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each of these into a ball shape
- a traybake-type tin is ideal to bake the rolls in. Grease the tin with butter and then place the rolls into the tin, pressing each one flat as you do so
- cover the baking tin with a clean dry tea towel and leave the rolls to one side to rise once more. This should again take about 1½ hours
- preheat the oven to 220°C
- lightly sprinkle a little flour onto the tops of the bread rolls. This isn’t essential – it just gives them a nice appearance when they’re cooked
- bake the bread rolls for about 18 minutes, or until they’re risen and brown.
The bread rolls are especially nice served warm with butter and jam. I can promise that they won’t last long, so why not start a second batch?