Rising to the
occasion

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I have baked and cooked all my life and I have to say that every time I take a cake or a loaf of bread from the oven I get a great buzz. You take a few basic ingredients like flour, bread soda, or yeast and water mix them together and watch the magic as a piece of white dough transforms itself into a white crusty well risen loaf of bread.

I have baked and cooked all my life and I have to say that every time I take a cake or a loaf of bread from the oven I get a great buzz. You take a few basic ingredients like flour, bread soda, or yeast and water mix them together and watch the magic as a piece of white dough transforms itself into a white crusty well risen loaf of bread.

Brown Yeast Bread

Makes 3 loaves

3lb/ 12 cups wholemeal flour (Odlums wholemeal or Howard’s)

1tbsp salt

3x7g sachets easy blend dried yeast

2 pints warm water

1tbsp brown sugar

Thoroughly grease 3 loaf tins, each about 21 x 11x 6cm/8 ½ x41/2 x 21/2 in and set aside in a warm place. Sift the flour and salt together in a large bowl and warm slightly to take off the chill.

Sprinkle the dried yeast over 150ml/ ¼ pint/ cup of the water. After a couple of minutes stir in the sugar. Leave for 10 minutes.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and stir in the yeast mixture and remaining water. The dough should be slippery. Mix for about 1 minute, working the sides into the middle.

Divide among the prepared tins, cover with oiled clear film and leave to rise, in a warm place, for 30 minutes, or until the dough has risen by about a third to within 1 cm/ ½ in of the top of thee tins.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/ Gas 6. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the loaves are crisp and sound hollow when tapped on the base. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool.

White yeast bread

1lb 2oz/510g Strong White Flour

1oz/26g Butter

1 sachet of dried yeast, 7g

1tsp Salt

1tsp Sugar

10fl oz/280ml Warm Water

In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, yeast and sugar, rub in the butter, and stir in the water and with your hand mix to soft dough. Turn out on to a lightly floured board and knead for a good 10 minutes or if you have a food mixer fitted with a dough hook, put it in the bowl of the mixer attach the dough hook and turn on for about 5 minutes. Have a 2lb/900g loaf tin greased with oil or butter, shape the dough into the tin, cover with cling film or a clean damp tea towel, leave in a warm place to double in size (about 1½ hours), then place in a preheated oven 220°C , 450°F or gas mark 8 for 35 minutes. The baked loaf should sound hollow when tapped underneath.

Multi Seed Brown Bread

1 sachet of yeast = 7g, if you are using a tin of dried yeast 1tsp is enough. Fresh yeast would be ½oz/14g.

1lb/454g Coarse Wholemeal

1lb/454g Plain Flour

4oz/112g Wheat Bran

2tsp Bread Soda

2tsp Salt

2oz/56g Melted Butter

2pt/1lt Buttermilk

4oz/112g Mixed Seeds, (pumpkin, linseed, sesame & sunflower)

2tbsp Brown Sugar

2tbsp Honey

I use Odlum’s flour, its great. The sugar and honey is optional, I find most of us like the slight sweetness of the bread. This quantity makes 2 x 2lb loaves of bread.

Sieve the flour, soda, salt, add in the bran, sugar and seeds, make a well in the centre, add in the honey, butter and milk, give a good stir with a wooden spoon. Divide into 2 x 2lb loaf tins which you can grease with butter or a brush of oil, place in a preheated oven for 1½ hours at 180°, when cooked cool on a wire rack.

Plain soda bread I cook at a higher heat for a shorter time but I find this bread benefits from a lower heat for longer, the crust does not get burnt. Cover with a towel when it comes out of the oven.