MERRY CHRISTMAS! Time to bake some bread?

There’s this big myth around bread that it’s super tricky to make and only a goddess like Mary Berry has the ability to make it well. I have news for you my friends: you have been lied to! Bread is easy to make, as easy as pie (well actually, a lot easier than pie). I got into making bread about a year ago, and it’s one of the most easy and relaxing things to do  (trust me, kneading is the best way to de-stress). Plus it tastes great, much better than supermarket brands.

This recipe is a basic white loaf, with my own festive twist, the mulled wine of breads they might say. You can easily substitute these items too, for those of you with allergies and dietary requirements. It’s a piece of cake (well, piece of bread)…

You will need:

500g of strong white flour

7g of dried active yeast

1 tablespoon of salt

350ml of warm water

A little bit of sunflower oil

A tablespoon of cinnamon

A tablespoon of honey

cranbers
Add cranberries for a festive feel to your bread.

A small handful of dried cranberries

A small handful of walnuts, chopped.

Method:

Before you start, pre-heat your oven as hot as it can go, the hotter the oven, the better the loaf.

1. Tip the flour, yeast, and salt into a large mixing bowl, making a well in the middle.

2. Pour in the majority of the water into the bowl, and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon.

3. Keep mixing, until a slightly wet workable dough, adding more water if necessary.

4. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least ten minutes. This is the perfect way to get out all of your exam stress: take all your anger out on that dough.

5. Add the honey, cranberries, and walnuts.

6. Knead again, until the bread passes the window pane test.

7. Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size.

8. Put the dough onto a floured surface, and push any remaining air out.

9. Mould the dough into a rugby ball shape and place into a loaf tin or on a baking tray

10. Cover with a clean tea towel (they do exist in student kitchens) and leave to prove for 30 mins

11. Dust the top of the loaf with a a little flour and cinnamon, slash the top with a sharp knife

TOP TIP: In commercial ovens, they steam bread to give it a better crust. You can do this at home too, just put a tray of of water on the bottom shelf of the oven a few minutes before you put the bread in.

12. Put the loaf in the oven at 250 degrees, and bake for one minute

13. Turn the oven down to 220 degrees, and bake the bread fro 10 minutes

14. Turn the heat down to 190 degrees and continue to bake for 30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when removed from the tin and tapped on the base.

15. Leave the bread on a wire rack to cool completely.

16. Enjoy!

This article originally appeared in Wessex Scene.
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