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“…all the living and the bread”

September 11, 2011
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Homemade bread is truly amazing and this recipe is absolutely the best I’ve found. It’s from this great bread book in the River Cottage series that not only gives some great recipes but spends about 100 pages talking about how to make bread – the science, the process and the extra touches. I’ve learned all about proper kneading, rising, shaping, proofing, slashing, dusting and all the other steps that go into forming a wonderful loaf of bread, but I’ll try to make this recipe as simple as possible. You will need a cooking scale (preferably digital) but this recipe is honestly worth buying one for.

The best part about this recipe is that it’s really basic, but you can make any variation you want. I’ve tried white bread, cinnamon raisin, multigrain, whole wheat and rye already and there are tons more flour options, liquid options and ‘extras’ to try. I posted some ideas at the bottom but you really can do anything with this.

Basic Bread Recipe
From The River Cottage Bread Handbook

500 grams flour of any type
5 grams powder/instant/quick rising yeast
10 grams salt
300 grams warm (but not hot) liquid of any type
extras

Flour can include white, whole wheat, rye, seven grain cereal, and then all the other ones that I haven’t ventured to yet like spelt. Basically, anything.

Liquid can be water, milk, buttermilk, yogurt, apple juice, beer or anything else you would like to experiment with.

Extras can include so many things like seeds, dried fruit, herbs, honey, cheese, sugar (for sweetbreads), etc. etc.

The Process

Mix all ingredients together and knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will go from being sticky to smooth.

Let sit, brushed lightly with oil, for about an hour and a half – in this time, the dough will double in size.


Turn over so the smooth side is down, then punch down with tips of fingers to deflate (this prevents holes in the bread).  Fold in half, then turn so the fold is up. Press your fingers along the fold to seal, then flatten the dough. Lightly stretch the dough to form a long rectangle. Fold right side into middle, then left side on top of right side, forming a square. Press down edges. Roll in the top and bottom so they touch, then lightly roll the loaf back and forth until everything is sealed. Place smooth side up on a floured board.

Heat oven to 475 and bake for 10 minutes, rotating halfway if your oven baked unevenly. Turn down the heat to 350 and bake for another 25-30 minutes. Check the bread by knocking lightly on the top and listening for a hollow sound.

Some Ideas:

Whole Wheat: 250 g white flour, 250 g whole wheat, 1 tbsp honey, water
Multigrain: 200 g white flour, 200 g whole wheat flour, 100 g seven grain cereal, water
Cinnamon Raisin: 2 tbsp cinnamon, 150 g water, 150 g milk, 30-50 g sugar, raisins
Cranberry Walnut: chopped cranberries and walnuts, 2-4 tbsp maple syrup
Herb and Cheese: 1/2 cup grated parmesan or any other cheese, fresh or dried herbs of choice
Salted Rosemary: 2 tbsp chopped rosemary, rather than flouring, brush top with water and sprinkle with coarse sea salt

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2011 3:24 pm

    Yes! I was hoping to get this recipe from you eventually. In exchange, I have a cinnamon bun pancake recipe I discovered that I think you might like.

    • September 11, 2011 3:25 pm

      You can chance “might like” to “would absolutely love”! Please do send! Actually, do you want to just guest post? If you take a photo of them next time you make them and write up the recipe, I’ll put it on the blog!

      • September 11, 2011 3:26 pm

        I haven’t actually tried the recipe yet, but I’ll photograph the process when I get a chance (read: Saturday morning).

  2. Charlotte Nobles permalink
    September 27, 2011 9:44 pm

    Hey Allie! Do you happen to have the measurements for these ingredients in cups and tea/table spoons? I found most of the conversions online, but I can’t figure out how many cups is 300g of water. Do you know, by any chance? (I am super excited to make this bread, by the way!!)

    • September 27, 2011 10:01 pm

      Hey Charlotte – good point!! Water is actually one of the rare ingredients where grams = milliliters so you can just do a cup plus 3 tablespoons plus 1 teasoon (a bit of a ridiculous measurement)…or just under a cup and 1/4.

      I hope this helps! And I hope you enjoy bread making!

      • Charlotte Nobles permalink
        September 28, 2011 9:17 am

        Fantastic, thanks! I will let you know how it turns out!

  3. Morgane permalink
    January 5, 2012 10:46 am

    Is it the bread recipe you were doing last Tuesday ?
    I have to try it !
    Maybe this weekend.

    • January 5, 2012 4:31 pm

      Yep – this is the recipe! I had added cinnamon, a tiny bit of cloves, a few tbsp of honey/sugar to the dough and I ended up sprinkling the top with sugar instead of flour. It made a great breakfast bread!

      • Morgane permalink
        January 7, 2012 9:52 am

        I’ll try it “simple” to begin with, then play with it after :)

        But I was wondering, if I want to separate the dough to make, let’s say 6 tiny buns, do you think I should keep the same process of cooking ?

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