Watching Michel Roux eulogising the virtues of hand-crafted bread on the ‘Great British Food Revival‘ reminded me that shamefully I hadn’t baked a loaf for several weeks. Thus suitably laden with middle-class guilt I put on a pinny, grabbed a jar of Mathos Organic Polygonum Honey (dark, strong and liquorice-ee) and made this simple white loaf.
And on the subject of food telly, on last night’s Masterchef, Gregg Wallace stormed into the kitchen and announced to the contestants ‘I might have to pull one of you off in a minute.’
Preparation time: 15 minutes plus 1½ – 2 hours rising
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Skill level: easy
Makes: 1 large loaf
- strong white flour – 400 g
- strong wholemeal flour – 75 g
- butter – 2 tbsp
- honey – 2 tsp
- fast action dried yeast – 1¼ tsp
- warm water – 275 ml
- sea salt – 1 tsp
Put the flours into a large bowl add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture has the usual ‘breadcrumb’ texture.
Stir in the salt and yeast.
Pour over the honey and slowly add enough of the warm water to make a soft dough.
Knead on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes, by which time the dough should be glossy, smooth and elastic.
Return to the bowl and cover with lightly oiled clingfilm.
Leave in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour or until doubled in size.
Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to knock back.
Place in a well oiled (1kg) bread tin, loosely cover with oiled clingfilm and place somewhere warm for 30 minutes or until the dough has mushroomed above the top of the tin.
(alternatively forget the tin and fashion into a suitably artisan shape)
Remove the clingfilm, dust with flour and place in a preheated oven (200C/gas mark 6) for approx 30 minutes.
For a crustier crust, place a tray of ice cubes in the bottom of the oven.
Remove from the oven, twist out of the tins and check that the loaf is cooked by tapping on the bottom and listening for a hollow sound.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Verdict: A light loaf with a hint of greco sweetness … and a fine toaster too.
Drink: Best with a nice cup of Rosie Lee.
Entertainment: Putting a muslin over my head and repeatedly playing ‘Boo’ with Yumblog Junior.