Basic Brown Bread

Bread5

Daily Bread

Is there anything to match the aroma of freshly baked bread?  When I was taking fresh loaves from the oven yesterday, Cael clasped his hands under his chin and said “Yay! Mommy bread!”.

Here’s the scoop: it’s tough to beat the nourishment and thrift of fresh, home-baked bread too!

This basic, no-knead recipe is very forgiving – in 13 years it has never flopped, not once! Sometimes the texture is better than other times, but it is always yummy bread.

Baking this bread costs exactly half of what store-bought bread costs us, and we all prefer it. Give it a bash, it is worth it!

Basic Brown Bread (makes 2 loaves).

Ingredients: 

4 cups brown bread flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 small packet instant yeast (about 1 Tablespoon)

1 Tsp sugar

1 Tsp salt

1-2 Tbsp Oil (sunflower, avocado or olive)

2 – 2,5 Cups warm water (baby bath temperature)

Method:

Mix the yeast and sugar into half a cup of warm water (even if the package says not to premix, do it anyway. It vastly improves the texture of the bread). Leave to sit for about 10 minutes, until it is frothy and foamy.

Bread1

 

Mix the salt and flour into a large bowl. Add the foamy mixture, oil and remaining water. Mix/stir well with a wooden spoon for a few minutes. It should be a sloppy, thick dough, difficult to stir but quite wet (see photo).

 

 

Cover the bowl loosely with a lid, plastic or damp cloth and leave it in a warm place (but not hot) for about 40 minutes, until the mixture has doubled in size.

Bread2

 

Stir down well, cover again and leave to rise again for another 30 minutes. At this stage the dough has thickened and is more elastic.

 

 

 

Bread3

 

Stir down again and divide dough between two greased loaf pans.

Leave to rise again, for about 20 minutes (a little more if it is a cold day) and bake at 200 deg celsius/ 400 deg fahrenheit / gas mark 6 for 30 minutes.

 

 

Bread4

 

Leave to cool in pans for 10 – 15 minutes then turn out gently. It is difficult to slice while still warm but if you don’t mind thick, chunky slices of bread, go ahead and enjoy while warm!

 

 

Store in airtight container. Store in the fridge in summer as the lack of preservatives means this breads starts to grow mold quickly.

 

Notes:

You can use any kind of flour (all brown or all wholewheat or another combination, even white flour if you choose)

You can replace some of the warm water with warm milk or buttermilk – this adds protean and a milky taste but does increase the cost of the loaf slightly.

This is a very versatile bread. It makes delicious open sandwiches but is also lovely to eat with soup.

This makes a lovely hostess gift.

This is perfect for “bulking up” or stretching a meal – serve with the meal or after with jelly/jam, marmalade, honey, cheese or fresh, ripe tomatoes.

Served with cheese or salad or boiled eggs, and crisp apples on the side, this is great for a picnic!

It freezes reasonably well.

To soften the crust to make slicing easier while still warm, dab cool water over the crust as soon as you remove the loaf from the oven (use a basting brush or dab with your fingers), while the loaf is still in the baking tin.

Add seeds and/or wheat germ and/or oats for health if your budget allows.

At this time (early 2014), it costs about R10 (excluding electricity) to make two loaves.