Autumn is here in full swing, Christmas is very close, what could get better than the bread baking smell in your kitchen? Well, yeah a brownie maybe?! Hmmm, maybe, for me baking bread stands high and clear at no 1 on the podium.
A winner every time. It is not only the baking but it is making it, the kneading, the proofing, the whole process of the bread making it’s just so satisfying. It definitely gives me a total inner satisfaction, joy and happiness.
Baking bread…. is awesome
The smell of baking bread it’s the best. I am very sure it has to do with my childhood experience (oh, here we go again) of grannies or my mum making it, we were jumping up and down with joy.
Childhood is such a lovely time, especially when brings back many good and truly nice memories. It’s unique.
There is one more thing that gives me these nice vibes it’s the smell of coffee sneaking in the morning all the way up in my bedroom. Oh, how I enjoy that!
We humans are super complicated entities, yet so simple when it comes to certain things and what could really make us happy.
Most times, the things that make us happy are very simple things indeed, precious and enjoyable, feeding us with positive energy, joy and good spirits.
The secret is to simply discover these, know exactly what they are, appreciate them and keep on feeding our life with these pleasurable moments, whatever they are.
They are worth highlighting and bringing them alive as often as possible.
The smell of baked bread makes us kinder....
I was reading a while back that aroma of freshly-baked bread has not only got the power to make our mouth water but according to a study carried out by some Daily Mail researchers at the University of Southern Brittany in France, but can also make us a kinder person. I agree, I’m sure I’m the nicest person when I bake bread, definitely the best of moods 😉
I do bake bread quite often (hence my nice nature lol). However, I have not baked a white loaf in a long, long time and I am talking here about a good couple of decades. Perhaps the idea of making or baking something healthier appeals to me greatly I have chosen to use healthier flours, various seeds, flakes and so on.
This time I have chosen to make pure white loaf which tastes absolutely unbelievable. This is not to say the others are not nice but once in a while this is so worth baking.
Well, my husband now blames me for putting a bit of a belly on, but my argument is that when he was having bread three times a day, it wasn’t me that was eating it, it was him!!
I pretended I was better behaved but... yes, it is pretty hard to resist it. I normally cut it all into slices, freeze it and have a slice or two a day toasted for a beautiful breakfast.
When was the last time you made bread from scratch? Do you like baking bread?
If you haven’t ever tried please don’t be put off thinking it’s a lot of work or anything like that, that’s not true. Here is the evidence! And.... boy, the outcome it’s amazing, the taste indescribable, never to be compared with any supermarket bought bread.
Some topping ideas…?
Here is a super simple idea of a delicious topping to have a slice or two of this beautiful homemade beauty with.
Chopped lamb liver and lamb hearts if you like lamb as much as we do. But of course, the possibilities are endless and whether you eat meat or not a slice of bread can be topped with almost anything you like.
What about (my top fave) topping a slice with some Greek yoghurt, pesto sauce and sautéed cherry tomatoes. Wow, this is the king of breakfasts for me. I’m hooked to it!
But, the sky is the limit on what you could top a slice of toast with. Don’t you agree?! Oh, look at this. I’m drooling already despite just having it.
* Servings number, it really depends, but this recipe makes approximately two 2lb loaves of bread or 3 smaller ones. It can be baked in loaf tins (I used 2x 2lb glass 28cm cake moulds) but cast iron skillets, cake tins or simply freely on a tray could also make some beautiful little buns.
I will leave this to your imagination entirely.
The baking time will be determined by bread shape and size but do not worry. Always apply the skewer test and you’ll be absolutely and perfectly fine.
Practice is definitely the mother of learning like I always say so the more bread you will bake, the better it will become. It’s as simple as that.
* If you don’t have fresh yeast then you can replace this by two sachets (14 g) of fast action yeast.
* Fresh yeast is perishable so if not used within 2-3 days it’s best to freeze it.
I usually buy it (it comes in a pack of 4 x 30g cubes) and I freeze whatever I don’t need, for next time. It never lasts for too long in my freezer, but I assume it could go for a good 2-3 months.
Whenever I use frozen yeast, I take it out of the freezer and place it in the warm water straight away.
Let's get some kneading done.
Black pepper and olive oil homemade bread
- glass bowl (large)
- baking bread loaf tins x 2
- 1000 g white flour strong
- 650 ml water luke warm
- 3 tsp salt I used pink Himalayan here
- 30 g fresh yeast *
- 60 ml olive oil
- 1 tbsp cane sugar
- 1 tbsp black pepper freshly ground
- Sift the flour into a larger bowl, add the salt the pepper and make a well in the middle.
- Into a mug put the sugar, the yeast, and cover with 150-180ml lukewarm water (part of the 650ml water needed). Mix well until the sugar and yeast have dissolved. Pour this into the well and allow it set aside for a few minutes until the yeast water begins to bubble up.
- Add more of the lukewarm water and start mixing by hand or a strong wooden spoon until it forms a soft dough. I always use my hand and I keep it in the bowl. It is easier with the water and oil gradual addition.
- Knead the dough by hand either in the bowl or on a super clean and lightly floured surface for about 10-12 minutes adding the oil little by little until the dough becomes smooth and pretty elastic. The best indicator that dough has had enough kneading is when the hand(s) come clean and dough no longer sticks to the hand.
- When finished place in a clean bowl, shaped into a large sphere and cover. I keep into the same bowl I have worked in as this becomes super clean till the end. Cover with a clean kitcken towel and allow it to rise in a warm place for about 40-45 mins until it doubles in size. If it’s not warm enough it will take longer to rise.
- When risen to double its size, split the dough into two exact amounts. Shape the dough into desired shape and place into the two oiled tins. I normally do a plat. Allow again to rise in a warm place, covered for 15 mins. Preheat the oven at this stage at 180C.
- Bake the loafs at 210C/fan assisted or 230C for 15 min and then at 180*C for another 20-25 mins until golden brown - do the skewer test and if it comes out clean, it’s done!
- Take out of the oven and then 3-4 min later take out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting it. I normally leave it out covered with a kitchen towel for a good 4-5h or even overnight before cutting and freezing.Having said this, no one can stop you having some warm bread with some salted butter or your favourite topping but you will have to tear it while still warm. Hard to resist it, I know!Enjoy