I was watching telly yesterday and saw Rachel Allen making this bread. On the show it seemed pretty easy so I though I would give it a try. I found this recipe of hers on line Rachel Allen White Yeast Bread. I did actually knead the dough myself instead of using my trusty kitchenaid and it was a bit of a workout but it was so worth it. It did not help that I had gone to the gym earlier in the day and worked on my shoulders oh well a double work out has not hurt anyone that I know :-).
- 2 tsp sugar
- 425 ml warm water (from a hot running tap)
- 1 1/2 7oz sachet of quick rising yeast
- 1lb 10oz all purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 egg beaten
Put 150ml of warm water into a liquid measuring cup, add the sugar and stir. Then add the yeast and stir just a tad. Keep aside.
Sift flour and salt into a bowl and make a well in the center.
Add the remaining water to the liquid measuring cup to come up to 425ml and then add the 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour this into the flour well. Start bringing the dough together. (I assume you have washed your hands). Keep a little extra warm water on the side and if your dough is too dry keep adding a little water. I had to add about 2 tbsp more of water to get a softer dough.
Once the flour has all come together you will now need to knead your dough on the countertop or in the kitchenaid. The hand kneading process to do this is to push down on the dough away from you with the base of your palm. Then bring the stretched part back. Then do a quarter turn and repeat. Stretch for about 3-4 mins, then go to regular kneading and really work that dough. It took me about 10 mins to get a dough that once I pressed my finger into would spring back.
Then lightly grease your bowl put the dough in there and cover with cling film. I then let it sit for 2 hours in the microwave and it had doubled in size. Next take off cling film and punch the dough down. Do a little bit of kneading about a min or two, and put it back into the bowl, cover it again and let it relax for 10 mins.
Ten mins before you are ready to bake set the oven to 425F. Put an oven proof bowl filled with warm water on a lower rack in the oven.
Take the dough and shape it into the shape you want. I did a load bread. Remember to run your knife in a couple of spots on the top so that the bread rises without cracking on the sides (which is what happened to mine). Let it rest on the baking tray for about 30 mins or until it has doubled in size again, covered with a clean kitchen towel.
Take the towel off, brush gently with egg wash and sprinkle topping. I used Zatar which is a middle eastern spice mix. Then put the loaf into the oven for 15 mins. After that turn the oven down to 400F and bake for another 15 mins more. Mine was done at this point. The check is if you knock on the bread it will sound hollow.
The bread was delightful.