Weekends are usually a giant cook-fest in our kitchen. This weekend was no different; I whipped up a delicious spinach and ricotta lasagne and a scrumptious batch of fresh bread. I try to always make my own bread as the processed alternative is a hard-no in our house (full of bad ingredients and lots of sugar), and I don’t always have the time to run to a local bakery to pick up a fresh batch of bread. My recipe for bread is super easy and doesn’t require any kneading etc. I just need to plan in advance for making the bread as I need to leave it for a chunk of time to rise.
3 Cups (450g or 1 lb) Whole Wheat Flour or Bread Flour
3/4 tsp Yeast (Quick-Rise or Instant Active Yeast)
1 1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 Cups (355 ml) Lukewarm Water
Spray Canola Oil
Add the flour to a large bowl. Then add the salt and yeast and stir thoroughly.
Next, add the lukewarm water and stir thoroughly. The dough will look rough and rugged once you have stirred in the water. Using your hands, bring the dough together into a neat, combined ball/lump.
Spray the top and bottom of the dough ball and place it back in the large bowl. You want the dough to be nicely coated in the spray oil so that it doesn’t stick to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot (I pop it in the larder cupboard) and cover the bowl with a tea towel. Leave the dough to rise for at least 6 hours. I either make the dough in the morning and then bake the bread in the evening, or leave the dough over-night and cook it in the morning.
After at least 6 hours, the dough will have risen and doubled in size. Spray a little oil onto the kitchen counter and then turn the dough onto the counter. Fold the dough over on itself a few times and try to mould it into a bread shape. Pop the dough back into the bowl, cover the plastic wrap over the top again, and leave the dough for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 450F. Whilst the oven is pre-heating, place a dutch oven or bread pot into the oven to warm up. I use the Lekue silicone bread maker and it works a treat 🙂
The dough will have risen further in the last hour and will need to be re-shaped again.
Take the bread pot out of the oven and spray oil around it so that the dough doesn’t stick. Drop the dough into the pot and cover it over with a lid. Bake the bread in the oven for 45 minutes. After 30 minutes of baking, remove the lid from the pot so that the top of the bread can brown a little.
Couple of Tips: I sometimes jazz up the recipe by throwing in some sesame seeds to the mixture (as shown in the picture of the finished bread). Just add a good chunk (technical term LOL!) of sesame seeds (or any other seeds you like) to the flour and mix thoroughly before the water is added etc.
You can also use this dough to make buns instead of a full loaf of bread. Just roll the dough into balls and place them on a greased baking tray. The buns won’t take the full 45 minutes to bake – they will just need 30 minutes and there is no need to cover them.