One of the most welcoming and homely smells in the world, rivalled only by coffee and freshly baked cookies, is bread that has just been pulled out of the oven.
For those of us without bread makers, the thought of baking bread from scratch is daunting to say the least, but this homemade bread recipe makes for an easy, simple and impressive addition to many meals (or, as my husband would argue, a meal on its own!). Pair it with a hearty soup or stew to mop up the delicious last few remnants, serve it before a meal with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or spread chunks of this loaf with garlic butter and grill for 2 minutes for the perfect sidekick to a lasagne or spaghetti bolognese.
I used oregano for this edition of breadmaking, but I’d also like to try adding sundried tomatoes and olives (mediterranean style) garlic and parmesan to pair with Italian meals…oh, the options are endless!
Preparation time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 20 minutes
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 tsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 50g butter, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano (or whatever herb/seasoning takes your fancy)
In a bowl, mix the sugar and 1 cup warm water until sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast on the top of this mixture, then pour remaining 1/4 cup warm water over the yeast. Stir with a fork, then set aside for 10 minutes, or until mixture has become frothy.
Meanwhile, place flour in a large bowl. Add butter and combine with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Add salt and oregano and stir to combine.
Make a well in the centre and pour yeast mixture into the well. Stir until just combined, then turn onto a flat, floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes, until dough is silky and stretchy.
Place in a clean bowl and cover with a clean tea towel; leave in a warm, non-drafty place for about an hour, or until dough doubles in size.
Punch down the dough to remove excess air, then knead on a floured surface for another 5 minutes, until dough is at its original size.
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C and grease a baking tray. Divide the dough into 3 balls, then roll each portion until it is around 30cm long. Place the strands side by side on baking tray, then plait them and pinch the ends together. Cover with tea towel again and let sit for another 15-20 minutes, until almost double in size.
Bake for around 20 minutes or until loaf is golden brown in colour and hollow-sounding when tapped.
Let cool for 15 minutes, and serve.Want to see more posts like this?
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