‘In the more than four years that I’ve been living by myself I have never baked bread, but when the increased aloneness of lockdown took hold in 2020 I resolved to do so. It proved impossible to obtain yeast however so that my intention faded and was only fulfilled in recent January days when I ran out of bread. That first instinct to bake bread as a way of being kind to myself is one I need to pay more attention to as the weeks drift by to the sounds of wind and rain beyond the door. The bread is substantial and giving, not perhaps the best it could be but I’ll try more recipes in the coming weeks. My bread tins are lost, so I used another oven tin, and forgot to cut the dough to make smaller loaves or buns, so then I decided to cut and immediately freeze part of the loaf after baking.Judith
- 500g Organic Malthouse Bread Flour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 300ml water
- 1 tsp salt
Mix flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the centre and add the olive oil, and water, mixing gradually. Mix well. Add a little more water if necessary. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for ten minutes. Make sure it is dry enough to knead well. Once it is smooth and shiny, tip out into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth or cling film, and leave to rise for an hour.
Then knock the air out of it, kneading again by folding it in on itself, and put it into the greased or lined tin you are going to cook it in. If you are going to divide the dough before cooking, now is the time to do it. Leave for a further hour to double in size then dust with flour or seeds – I used organic blue poppy seeds, and/or if you wish score a cross in the top.
Cook in a hot oven – 220oC or 200oC with fan oven; or gas 7, for 25 minutes, until the loaf sounds firm and hollow if you knock underneath. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Always bake bread when you have plenty of time ahead, or in the evening when you can leave it to prove in the fridge overnight. ”