Rising to the Bread challenge...

Bread, one of the most basic foods on the planet .... you can bake bread at home and it's easier than you think. I remember my mum baking bread, the sweet smell filling the house and the wait as we watched it... wrapped in a tea towel by the window cooling....and then the slicing and the butter melting into its wholemeal goodness and not bothering with jam and washing it down with a cup of hot tea or homemade lemonade in the summertime...happy days! I know in this fast paced world most people don't have the time to make bread from scratch, but if you do have a few hours on your hands it is so worth doing.Today I'm baking a yeasted bread, which seems to put the fear of god in people...but trust me, once you make your own fresh, crusty on the outside, soft on the inside bread you will despair at the thoughts of buying a sliced pan again!

poppy seed & olive bread

  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 430 ml lukewarm water
  • 1& 1/2 packets of 7g fast acting dried yeast / 20g fresh yeast
  • 750g strong white flour
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • a beaten egg for brushing 
  • poppy or sesame seeds to decorate, olives if you fancy some olive bread

Let's begin.....

  • sieve the flour into a large bowl, mix in the salt
  • dissolve the sugar in the water & add the yeast..a froth will appear..that means the yeast is alive!
  • make a well in the flour & start adding the yeasty wate, then the olive oil
  • mix with fork until you can't & then get your hands in to bring the dough together
  • if it seems a bit lumpy don't worry...kneed the dough on a floured work surface for 10 mins until dough is smooth & springy ...it's a good upper arm workout!
  • place in a clean lightly oiled large bowl cover with cling film & leave in a warm place

Now you can relax while the magic happens....


after.......baby is optional!

  • after the dough has risen (2/3 hours) you 'knock it back' this is fun...punch the dough to knock the air out!
  • next step...kneed the dough again for 2/3 mins & then allow to rest for 10 mins -if making olive bread add them at this point....note...dry the olives in kitchen paper as you don't want to wet the dough too much.
  • you can either make two loaves or make about 10/12 small rolls be gentle at this point as you want to keep the air in the dough
  • shape your bread, put onto oven tray, cover with tea towel & rest for 20/30 mins, turn oven on to 220C/ Gas 7
  • after the final resting, brush with egg, sprinkle the seeds on top 
  • bake in oven for 10/15 mins if making small rolls or 30/45 mins for loaves
  • turn the oven down to 200C/Gas 6 after the first 15 mins of baking

          Enjoy the fruits of your labour...........