Bread Week is always my most dreaded week. It’s usually due to the fact that our flat is abnormally cold and drafty (even in the summer) and I can’t ever get bread to rise. I’ve learned some tips and tricks to combat that and it’s worked fairly well recently, but I have to say: this is probably my best bread week bake yet!
Last year I made a tasty but ugly baguette and before that a ciabatta. I’m thrilled that Val is still in the mix: I think without her personality this year the show would be sorely lacking. Someone on twitter mentioned that Val is like an aged Luna Lovegood, and I totally agree.
I suppose it’s okay to say that I loved my bake this week? It was definitely one of the best breads I’ve ever made and some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever eaten. (Modesty, be damned!) I didn’t even toast it or eat it delicately. Sam and I didn’t snack on it, we didn’t eat it as a side. No. We scoffed it fresh from the oven with a thick layer of butter and a light sprinkling of sea salt on every slice and it was divine. I’m in a carb slump but it was worth it!
- 500 g of strong bread flour
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of fast acting yeast
- 3 tablespoons of rosemary
- 300 mL of water
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- In a large bowl, add in the yeast, flour, salt and sugar. Make sure that you put the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. (Salt kills yeast.) Slowly add in the water and olive oil and mix until the dough comes together. Add tiny splashes of water if you need a bit more moisture to bring your dough together.
- Turn your dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead until your dough passes the "window" test. (You can see through a stretched piece of unbroken dough.) That means your gluten is throughly activated.
- Return your dough to the bowl and cover it with cling film. Place it somewhere warm to rise.
- Once it's doubled in size, tip it out and knock it back. Split the dough into three equal sections and roll it out into long snake pieces of dough. (Like you would make a playdoh snake as a kid). Braid your dough and tuck the ends underneath. Place your dough on a tray, cover it with a tea towel and put it back to rise for another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 200 C. Bake for approximately 40 minutes until your bread is golden, and when you tap on the bottom of the bread it sounds hollow.
- Because our flat is so cold, I run the shower on hot for 2 minutes with the door closed. Turn the shower off, and use the warm room as the place to put your dough to rise.
This week I have the absolutely pleasure of announcing our Week BakeOffBakeAlong winner and it’s Helena! Follow her on instagram to see more of her glorious creations! Just take a look at her gingerbread cookie; it’s incredible! She modelled it on a Balinese mask that she brought back from her honeymoon last year.
And now you have the chance to be our bread week winner! Link up your bready bakes below: