With more potential enforced time at home, now’s the time to pick up a new skill that you’ve always wanted to learn. And with the much talked-about therapeutic benefits of kneading (not to mention the better flavour and texture!), bread is the perfect place to start.
Something creative and productive that will occupy the mind and leave you with a fresh homemade loaf – sign us up!
Bread requires very few ingredients and a homemade loaf is not only cheaper, but more nutritious than its shop-bought counterpart as it’ll be free of preservatives and additives. The whole activity is thoroughly rewarding from start to finish.
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1. Put flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine then make a well in centre. Add all the water and mix well. Use your hands to bring mixture to a dough.
2. Tip on to work surface, adding a dusting of flour if dough is sticky and knead. Try working dough using alternate hands, pushing with heels of palm, and also pulling dough away from itself and folding it back in. Knead until the dough feels springy and elastic – by hand this normally takes 10min.
3. Lightly grease a bowl with oil and put dough inside. Lightly oil a piece of clingfilm and cover bowl. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1hr, or until doubled in size. You can also leave your dough to rise in the fridge overnight.
4. Knock back dough by punching with a fist then dust work surface with flour and knead dough for a few min. Shape into a round.
5. Take a baking sheet and dust with flour or line with baking parchment. Put dough on and leave to prove for 30min-1hr, covered loosely with lightly oiled clingfilm (oil down) until visibly puffed.
6. Score a cross into the surface of dough with a sharp knife. Bake at 230°C (210°C fan) mark 8 for 15min then turn down oven to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6 and bake for a further 15-20min, until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.