This homemade bread recipe makes a 1 lb (0.5 kg) loaf.
1 lb of flour
1 tsp of salt
3/4 oz of fat
1/4 oz of dried yeast
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 a pint of water (lukewarm)
milk, or egg, to glaze
1. Warm a bowl and sift the flour into it with the salt. Rub the fat evenly into the flour and salt mixture. Stir the dried yeast into 1/4 pint of the water along with the sugar. Now leave it for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy. Stir this yeast mixture and enough water into the flour and salt mixture to make dough of a soft elastic consistency.
2. Turn the dough out on a lightly-floured flat surface. Knead it with your hand using the heel and knuckles. The dough should be kneaded for around 10 minutes, until it is firm. Now put the dough into a greased bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and put in in a warm place. Wait about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
3. Now turn the dough out again on a floured flat surface. Knead until it is firm again. Put the dough in a lightly-greased 1 lb (0.5 kg) loaf tin (or cake tin). Brush it with milk (or beaten egg) to glaze. Cover the dough again and put it in a warm place. Leave it to double in size. This final stage where the dough rises is called proofing, or proving.
4. Bake the bread dough in a preheated hot oven (220 degrees Centigrade, 425 degrees Fahrenheit or gas mark 7) for around 35 minutes. It should be well-risen and sound hollow when tapped underneath.
To make differently-shaped bread:
Rolls: This bread recipe makes around 16 rolls. When the dough is ready for cooking, divide it into 16 pieces. Shape the pieces into rolls, finger shapes or rings. Proof and bake for around 25 minutes.
Plaits: Roll the dough into a long, thick sausage shape. Make three slits along the length of the sausage, leaving one end attached. Plait the strips of dough together. Bake it like you would a plain loaf.
Cottage Loaves: Divide the dough up into 10 pieces. Take each piece and split them into two. One piece should be two times the size of the other piece. Make the pieces into balls and put the smaller one on top of the bigger one. Push your little finger down through the center to seal. Glaze the cottage loaves and bake like rolls for 25 minutes.
To make differently-flavored bread:
You can flavor the dough before cooking it by stirring in some extra ingredients. Try adding 4 oz of grated cheese, or 1 1/2 tbsp of dry mixed herbs (3 tbsp fresh), or 1 onion (finely chopped), or 1 tbsp of cumin seeds to the dough.
Sprinkling some cracked wheat, sesame seeds, or poppy seeds onto the loaf after you have glazed it will add a delicious texture and make it look more attractive to eat.
This homemade bread recipe will come in handy when you want to experience the joys of home baking. There's nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread to stimulate the appetite.