When I have time, I like to bake my own bread. It’s a very simple recipe Junko kindly gave me, and I thought it might be nice to share here.

Freshly baked loaf

Ingredients

  • Wholemeal or Brown Flour - 500g
  • Butter - 25g
  • Dried Yeast - 7g (1 packet)
  • Salt - 1 tea spoon (4 turns of a salt mill)
  • Warm Water - 330ml
  • Dried Fruit or Nuts - Handful (optional)

Method

  1. Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the bowl.
  3. Crumble the butter and flour by rubbing the mixture between your fingertips until no lumps of butter remain.
  4. Make a small well in the centre of the mixture, and add the warm water. Stir gently with a spoon, folding the flour and water together.
  5. Once it becomes difficult to stir, knead by hand for 5 to 10 minutes. The dough should leave the bowl clean, and shouldn’t stick to your hand: if the mixture seems to be too dry to clean the bowl, add a drop more water; too sticky, add a pinch more flour.
  6. Place a damp cloth (I use a tea towel) over the top of the bowl, and leave the dough to rest in a warm place for between 30 minutes and an hour. It should roughly double in size during this time. If your kitchen is short on warm places, you can always rest the bowl inside a larger bowl or pan of warm water.
  7. Once it has risen, put a little flour on hands and knead the dough back down a little. Add some dried fruit or nuts (raisins, cranberries, walnuts, etc) at this point if you would like.
  8. Gently press the dough into an un-greased loaf tin, levelling the top.
  9. Bake in a fan oven at 230ºC (450ºF) for 15 minutes.
  10. Reduce the temperature to 200ºC (400ºF), and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  11. Remove the bread from the loaf tin, and leave to stand on a cooling rack.

Sliced loaf