June 9, 2012 in Bread
My mother was a baker but not a cook. I’m cook but not a baker! When you bake you have to adhere to the fundamentals of baking and follow the recipe precisely…I’m not very good at doing either…Baking, especially when baking bread is an exercise in patience and that’s something I don’t have. I got divorced a couple of years ago and all I longed for was for the pain to go away, to be able to let go and move on and I wanted it all to happen………….yesterday. A good friend suggested that I make a loaf of bread. She said the process of baking bread was therapeutic and would teach me some patience. So I headed her words and starting kneading. I also had to wait (patiently) for the dough to rise, not once but twice. I finally had the pleasure of biting into a thick slice of buttery home-made bread…it was so worth the wait…..it was therapy at it’s best!
Rosemary & Raisin bread – compliments of Jamie Oliver.
- 30ml of dried yeast
- 30ml sugar
- Plus/Minus 625 ml tepid water
- 1 kg strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 30ml salt
- 1x large bunch of rosemary, leaves picked
- 500g raisins, chopped or left whole
Stage 1: Dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1/2 the tepid water.
Stage 2: On a clean surface or in a large bowl, make a pile of the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and pour in all the dissolved yeast mixture. With 4 fingers of 1 hand, make circular movements from the centre moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the other 1/2 of the tepid water into the centre and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. (Certain flours may need a little more water, so don’t be afraid to adjust the quantities.)
Stage 3: Kneading! This is the best bit, just rolling, pushing and folding the dough over and over for 8-10 minutes. This develops the gluten and the structure of the dough. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little extra flour. Add the rosemary & raisins to the dough as you knead. Allow to prove for 60min.
Stage 4: Divide the dough in half and knock it down to release all the air/gas. Knead for a few minutes then shape into 2 long sausage-shaped loaves.
Stage 5: Place on a tray dusted with flour and leave to prove again until doubled in size. Score down the length of the bread with a really sharp knife and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for approx 25min, until golden & crisp.
Leave to cool before eating. Especially good with a ploughman’s platter and even better with cheddar cheese sandwich with onion chutney marmalade….my favourite!