My name is Sue and I admit ... I have a 'thing' about bread bins.
I love the old enamel ones best and my collection of these resides on the conservatory windowsill. "that's strange" you might whisper to yourself "why would she keep her bread there" ... well I'll let you into a secret they are full of the dogs things. Opened bags of treats in the blue one, new bags of treats in the white one and in the green one, their selection of balls, pulls and their grooming mitts and brushes.
Useful, decorative and more importantly to me they are enamel bread bins and look wonderful :-)
Over in the kitchen there is the pot bread bin .... it contains the bread currently in use. It's handy next to the toaster and the chopping boards.
So what is in the stainless steel one then ...
... it's bigger than the others.
It matches Ken ...
...and it's full of everything I need to actually make the bread.
My bread recipe, and the one that I will be sticking to for the majority of this year is simple and is written on a Post-it, which also resides in the bin along with my 'new to me' flour shifter. Bought last week from the charity shop for 99p. I thought a sifter would make me use less flour than my current method of grabbing a handful and scattering, we'll have to see if the ploy works.
I use my Kenwood to make the bread these days, Ken has more stamina than me for the first 10 minute kneading, then I am kind and take over to give him a rest ;-)
My Bread Recipe
500g Strong Bread Flour (I use 300g white/200g brown) (5.3p per 100g)
1.5 tsp salt
7g easy yeast
15 mls oil
300mls warm water
All the dry ingredients go into Ken's bowl with the dough hook attachment in place. He is switched on briefly to mix them together. Then the oil and most of the water go in. If things look dry the rest of the water is added. Ken is left to do his thing at a slow to medium speed for about 10 minutes while I grease and flour the bread tins.
When the ball of dough is looking nice and smooth I take over, and on a floured worktop give the bread a good kneading before plonking it back into Ken's bowl and covering it with .... a shower cap filched from a hotel room in the past. If you didn't think to do this clingfilm will do or a clean tea towel.
Leave the dough in a warm place to double in size.
Once it has grown take off the covering and knock it back (punch it ... grrr).
Now it is time to give your dough another brief kneading and decide what you want to make. This amount of ingredients will give you a lovely family sized loaf, a small loaf and four rolls, a small loaf and a pizza base or 6 to 9 bread rolls depending on the size you make them.
Shape your dough and then leave it to rise for the second time covered with a tea towel or floured clingfilm, you do not want the clingfilm to stick to your dough, be careful!! If you leave your bread to rise in a warm place it will be ready in about half an hour, keep checking after that, you do not want it to rise too much or it will collapse back on itself.
You can also leave it in a cool place to rise slowly, and this does develop the flavour nicely as well as giving you more time to go and do things. You can even leave it overnight in the fridge and bring it back to room temperature the next day before baking.
Bake in a medium to hot oven for about 30 minutes for a loaf, less for buns and if you are making a pizza base place it on your pizza tray or an upturned baking sheet, add your sauce and toppings and then bake in a very hot oven until it is ready.
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As you might have guessed from this I am going to be useless at giving you timings and temperatures as I cook and bake on an Aga which is permanently at it's own set temperatures depending on which oven or top plate I use. The trick with cooking and baking is to get used to your own stove, being overly cautious at first until you get used to how it performs and each and every oven performs differently no matter what the manufacturer may tell you.
So there you have it my bread recipe, the basic ingredients can be added to in many ways. Grated cheese and chopped nuts make a good loaf for slicing and dunking into homemade soup, a handful of raisins or chopped dried fruit make it great for eventually turning into a bread and butter pudding ... after having a few slices warm from the oven with homemade jam of course. You could use flavoured oil and add some garlic for a wonderful savoury loaf.
Experimentation is the key and with such a basic bread base it leaves the way clear for you to play with your food ... something I am highly in favour of.
As the finances grow tighter no doubt I will also cut back on the flours I buy, as it is quite easy possible to make bread with normal flour and at the moment in Asda these flours are just 45p, making it 3p per 100g. Rather than my current flours, shown above which are costing me 5.3p per 100g.
So my current bread recipe per loaf is costing me 37p, if I switch to the cheaper flour which when not on offer is 52p, a homemade loaf will cost me 29p ... a saving of 8p.
Whichever flour I continue to use, us getting into the habit of making our own bread will save a fortune when I see that a loaf of our current favourite bread is now £1.55 (19.4p per 100g).