Homemade bread

Homemade bread is one of the best things in the world. The smell of bread baking wafts through the house filling every room with the most magnificent smell, it drives me crazy. 

There are so many different types from simple, plain loaves to more exciting and adventurous flavoured breads and rolls. Homemade focaccia with rosemary and a lovely sea salt topping won’t make it to the dinner table, it gets eaten in the kitchen within about 10 mins of coming out of the oven. Another thing with bread is that there is something incredibly satisfying about scooping up sauce or soup with a chunk of bread. When I was younger I used to sit by the stove and watch my parents making curries and armed with my chunk of bread I would dip it in the pans as they were cooking to “taste” the sauce and see what else it needed as it cooked. I still do this, and have to be shooed out of the kitchen and the bread removed from my hand. 

I have a bread machine if I am going for the minimal effort, all in one approach but also a stand mixer which handles the initial mixing and kneading but still leaves me a bit to do.  Without gadgets is just as easy as long as you are up for throwing yourself into the kneading.  It’s incredibly satisfying kneading a loaf of bread, quite therapeutic.  If you’re stressed or fed up make bread! (this may explain why my husband loves making bread so much).

Sadly I’m allergic to yeast but to hell with that, I will live with the scratching that follows a bread binge which makes me look like a flea-bitten labrador!   

The recipe below is for a lovely, smokey tomato bread with little bits of chorizo in it, very moreish and one of my favorites especially when it’s warm.

Tomato Bread with Chorizo
Ingredients
225 ml warm water
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp golden granulated sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika powder
3 tbsp dried onion flakes
50 g chorizo sausage finely diced
150 g very strong wholemeal bread flour
300 g very strong white bread flour
1 sachet fast acting yeast (1 x 7g sachet)
Salt water to glaze

Method
Put the flours, sausage, onion, paprika, sugar, salt and yeast into a bowl, keeping the salt and yeast away from each other just to start with. Mix to a soft dough with the tomato puree, oil and water (this can all be done in food mixer if you prefer). Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Shape and put into a greased loaf tin. Leave to prove covered with a clean tea towel until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7 . Glaze with salted water and then pop in the oven, immediately turning the heat down to 200°C/Gas Mark 6. Bake for 30-35 minutes. When cooked the loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

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