Bread week is notoriously one of my hit or miss weeks. I love eating bread. Obviously. It’s the one food that I could never ever give up. Making bread, however, is always temperamental for me. Sometimes it works out amazingly. Other times it’s a bit of a flop.
In terms of the episode, I was pretty excited to see someone other than Steven win, but I was absolutely gutted to see Flo leave. She was one of my favourites and she brought a much needed splash of personality to this season.
So I entered into this week a bit trepidatiously. And then decided to bake a monster loaf. The cottage loaf definitely caught my eye with its distinctly British shape and the sheer amount of bread it produces!
- 500 g of strong bread flour
- 7g sachet of dried fast acting yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Put in the butter and rub it into the flour, as if you were making pastry. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in 300ml lukewarm water, then mostly bring it together. Add a bit more water if needed, to gather up any dry bits in the bottom of the bowl, until the mixture comes together as a soft dough. (It shouldn't be very sticky). Work the dough into a ball.
- Knead the dough on a very lightly floured surface and for 8-10 mins until it feels smooth and elastic. Place the dough ball in a large glass bowl and leave covered for 45 mins-1 hr or until doubled in size and feels light and springy.
- After the dough has risen, knock it back by gently kneading it 3-4 times. You only want to knock out any large air bubbles, so don't do it too many times. Cut off two-thirds and one-third with a sharp knife and shape both into round balls. Leave the dough balls covered for 10 mins.
- Then gently re-shape the balls of dough if necessary. Sit the larger ball on a baking parchment-lined baking sheet. Sit the smaller ball in the centre of the larger one and press down through the centre of the smaller one right into larger one with the floured end of a wooden spoon, to attach it. Dust the top of the bread dough with a little flour. Cover with a clean dry tea towel and leave for 40-45 mins, or until about doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 230C. Put the risen bread in the oven, carefully pour about 250ml cold water into a roasting tin at the bottom of the oven, then lower the heat to 220C. Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Remember bread should always sound hollow when you tap it if it is done.
Harold rated it 4 out of 5 licks. He liked it. But he would have preferred something sweet instead.
I’m so excited to see what everyone else has created for bread week! I’m really hoping to see some bread sculptures.
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