This year I'm mostly making our own bread, yes I still occasionally buy my favourite loaf and some soft brown rolls which are stashed in the freezer for whenever we need them, but our main source of bread has been made by my own fair hands, well me and Mr Kenwood that is. I did try a small bread maker but I found myself preferring 'Ken' and our joint efforts so much better.
I keep it simple though, very simple.
Even though I know the ingredients and the routine in my head, my bread making is mostly started off in the morning just after I get up, so that the bread is rising while I am getting on with other jobs such as Blogging or planting out seedlings (as now and in a minute) and when you have only just taken your first sip of that first coffee of the day it's easy to miss out an ingredient however simple the recipe might be, so I have this Post-it tucked in my bread supplies tin and I always put it on the worktop and work my way through it.
This recipe is our favourite bread mix, I use a mixture of two thirds strong brown flour and one third strong white flour and use it for loaves, buns, Focaccia style bread and for pizza bases.
To make the bread simply put all the dried ingredients into your mixer with the dough hook attachment and then while it is running pour in the warm water and the oil, leave it to do it's thing for at least 5 minutes and then finish off by hand until the dough suddenly becomes lovely and soft and pliable, then leave to rise until double in size (the warmer the place the quicker this will be). Once risen punch it hard to knock it back and give it another brief kneading by hand then shape it into whatever you want loaf, buns, pizza base etc.
If I know my yeast is very fresh (ie. not out of date) I usually add an extra 50 - 100g of flour and make an extra couple of buns or a Foccacia to have with tea. To make your own Focaccia simply pull or roll the dough out to fit on your tray, poke little indentations with your finger and press a piece of fresh Rosemary in each one (or sprinkle dried Rosemary on instead), sprinkle with Sea Salt, drizzle with Olive Oil and then bake. It only takes about 20 minutes, keep an eye on it as oven times vary.
Another shortcut I use is the spray oil that you see in the top picture, I use this to oil my tin before flouring and to spray the clingfilm I put over the bread for both it's risings first back in the mixer bowl and the second in the loaf tin, (use the same piece and save money).
I keep everything to hand on the worktop right next to 'Ken' in this tin, the two bags of flour and the tin of yeast so I can spring into action at any time. Strangely it's a tin marked 'Peelings' .....
... but turned round on the worktop no-one knows !
Ironically in the utility room there are three tins marked 'Bread' but these hold various dried dog and cat foods, this sort of mix up is quite usual in our house but baffling to visitors. (We used to keep our pig money in a chicken shaped pot and our chicken money in a plain round tin much to the confusion of my lovely Mum and Dad whenever they came to hold the fort.)
I really should wash one of these bread bins out and have a swap over :-)
Today's bread dough is basking in the sun having it's first rising on the patio, as it's warmer out there than it is in the house and now I am off to plant out 60 or so Leeks in the Veggie Patch. By the time I'm done I should be able to knock it back and leave it for it's second rising, then by lunch time there should be a nice slice of warm homemade bread to eat.
I love bakers perks :-)