Bread remains one of the UK’s favourite foods, with 99% of households buying bread – or the equivalent of nearly 12 million loaves are sold each day and with white bread accounting for 76% of the bread sold in the UK, I decided to put together a post on how you can make your own own bread at home.
There are over 2,00 different kinds of bread are produced in the UK – from butter rich brioche and crisp baguettes to farmhouse loaves and focaccia, soft ciabatta and crumpets to chapattis and flaky croissants. This diversity is only possible because of the vast range and quality of British flour available. So, I’ve decided to write about soughdough!
White bread is a good source of non-dairy calcium as white bread is fortified with calcium. And for all you health bunnies out there, did you know carbohydrates help you to feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to snack on the unhealthy things and providing a great source of fuel before or after a workout. Bread is low fat, low sugar and around 80 calories a slice, so if you’re watching your weight you can fit it easily to your health plan.
To make this bread you need to use a ‘starter’ mixture that takes the place of yeast. The starter takes about five days to develop (or you can buy it online), but once you have it you can keep it alive and use it whenever needed.
Ingredients500g/1lb 2oz strong unbleached white bread flour, plus extra for flouring
300g/10½oz sourdough starter
250ml/9fl oz water
10g/¼oz brown sugar
10g/¼oz salt flavourless oil, for greasing
Preparation methodMix together the flour, sourdough starter and water in a bowl. Add the sugar and salt. Turn out on to a clean kitchen surface and *knead for 10 minutes or until the ‘windowpane effect’ is achieved (where the dough can be stretched until it is so thin that it becomes transparent).
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and let it prove for 2½-3 hours. You won’t notice as much of a rise in the dough as you would with a normal, yeasted bread and it will take a lot longer.
Turn out the dough onto a clean kitchen surface and knock back. Portion the dough into two and shape into two ball-shaped loaves. Flour generously, and place each loaf seam side up in a bowl, lined with a couche cloth or a heavily-floured tea towel – without the cloth, your loaf will stick in the bowl and you won’t be able to turn it out. Leave to prove for a further 2½ hours.
Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8. Put a few ice cubes or cold water into a baking tin and place in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Turn the loaves out onto a baking tray or hot baking stone. Using a thin sharp knife score two or three times on the top of the loaf and place in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a good crust has formed and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the base.
The dough can be made the day before baking allowing the fermentation process to be extended further. Once the dough is rolled, place it in the fridge and leave overnight. Remove 1½ hours before baking.
*How to kneed breadWhen flour is mixed with water this makes gluten. Kneading develops the gluten and makes the dough stretchy and elastic.
– Tip the dough onto a clean kneading surface. You can put a little oil or a dusting of flour on the surface to stop the dough sticking, but this isn’t necessary.
– Using the ball of your hand squash the ball of dough and push it away from you to stretch it.
– Pull it back into a ball, give it a quarter turn and repeat.
– Keep kneading for about 10 minutes. (It may take longer if you are not used to kneading.) Try to stretch the dough as you knead. This makes it more elastic. Don’t be too gentle with the dough.
– To see if the dough has been kneaded enough look for the ‘window pane’ effect. To do this cut a piece of dough from the ball, hold it up and try to stretch it out into a thin sheet. If you can make it thin enough to see light through it when you hold it up to the window, and the dough isn’t tearing, then it is elastic enough to stop kneading. But if the dough tears when you are trying to stretch it then continue kneading for a few more minutes and try again.
Sourdough is the perfect way to mix up your work pack lunches. Why not try my personal favourite, grilled Ham and Gouda Sandwiches with Frisée and Caramelized Onions sourdough sandwich? Read more about bread here.