Sunday, November 6, 2011

The beauty of bread and butter

There are a handful of things in life that bring a person a great ammount of content. That indescribable warmth you get in the pit of your stomach when you cant stop cracking up for instance. Watching the sun go down, watching the sun come up. Escaping to a another place with the help of a book. For some its being busy and for others its the relief of having nothing to do. For me content can be found simply in the intoxicatingly comforting smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. That savoury yeasty waft so unlike anything else.

As if the smell wasn't already enough, then comes the taste. Still warm bread out of the oven, smeared generously with butter is nothing short of ectasy, as if my taste buds has found their lover. So perhaps I'm romanticing a little too much in the description of something as simple as bread and butter but so often the simple things are the ones which have the most affect on a person. Plus I like to exaggerate.

Anyway, I recently baked a loaf of bread which to my surprise and delight came out near perfectly. (I pretended not to be surprised though so as to look more impressive).

As Ive expressed in the past, baking makes me nervous as hell. I'm always worried the proper reactions won't occur and I'll be left with a bowl of sad looking flour and wasted time. This particular recipe was on my side though, every step working in my favour. The yeast fizzed and foamed letting off the appropriate fermenting beer like smell after being bathed in tepid water. The dough came together after a thorough kneading into a satisfying shape that can only be likened to a breast and after an hour of sitting sleepily under a damp tea towel it successfully doubled in size. Hurrah!
This recipe is simple and can be easily transformed into anything you want. I added some rosemary into the dry mixture. Next time I think I'll add some olives and tomato paste just to jazz it up.

Simple bread recipe

-5g dried yeast
-400ml warm water
-3 cups white flour
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tbs white sugar

Preheat your oven to 200C.
Add warm water to the yeast to activate it, it should foam and look a bit busy.
Sift flour and salt in a large bowl, add the sugar and yeast mixture.
Mix well to form a soft doughly ball. Add more flour if its too sticky.
Knead the dough until its suffciently breast like.
Leave it to rest in a greased bowl covered with a tea towel or gladwrap for about an hour or until its doubled in size.
Knead it again (this is when you can add other flavours) put it in a greased loaf tin and allow it to rest again for another half hour or so.
Bake the beauty for ten minutes then reduce the temp to 180C for 30 minutes or until the loaf leaves the sides of the tin.
It should be slightly golden and if you tap the bottom of the loaf it should sound hollow (if that makes sense).
Wait until you can't resist (I lastest five whole minutes) dollop on a smudge of butter and feel comfort run warmly through your veins.

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