Ben’s Bread

kneading

Bread seems to be the new BBQ when it comes to men and cooking, perhaps spurred on by that blue eyed philanderer Mr Paul Hollywood, although I personally put it down to the slight aggression that’s needed for an effective knead. My husband just loves making bread and this is his very own recipe, refined after years of practice.

I feel very, very lucky when bread is home baked for me (although this happens a lot less often now our lives are busy with children). I’m sure that we all wake up with an extra spring in our step when we know that there is going to be fresh bread for breakfast. In theory you can fit this recipe into an evening starting at 6 and ending before 10. The only time consuming stage is the first knead and after that it’s mainly about waiting but you do have to be on the ball. We’ve often dozed off on the sofa watching television and forgotten about the bread.

Ben’s bread

Makes a large family size loaf using a bread tin 23.5 x 13.3 x 6.99 cm

  • 450g strong white bread flour
  • 100g wholemeal or rye flour
  • Handful of nuts and seeds (one or a mixture of the following; sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, poppy seeds)
  • 6g dried instant action yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 350g tepid water

Measure all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add the water gradually mixing with your hands until it comes together in a soft dough.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead vigorously for at least 10 minutes.

Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove for at least 2 hours (although you can leave for up to 3) by which time the dough should have doubled in size.

Take the dough out of the bowl and whack it down onto the work surface a few times to remove all the air. Then knead for a further 2 minutes before putting into a lightly oiled bread tin.

Cover the tin lightly with a tea towel and leave to prove again for about 45 minutes. The dough needs to rise up above the line of the tin into a dome like shape, but don’t leave it for too long otherwise it runs out of energy and collapses in the oven.

bread rising

This is how the bread should look just before it goes into the oven.

Preheat your oven to 220oC fan. When the bread has proved bake as follows:

  • 220oC for 15 minutes
  • 180oC for 10 minutes
  • Remove bread from the tin and then return to the oven for a further 8 minutes at 180oC
The finished loaf.

The finished loaf.

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