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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

All things home… OB&T Easy Bake Bread

I've been gone for more than a hot minute and have had messages asking me where I'm at?  Complaints such as, 'I look every day for a new post, when is it coming?'

As I had posted before, my husband and I went through a horrifying ordeal and honestly, I had been caught up with the aftermath of that.  From having to turn down a school place for Alexander because of location in connection to the attackers, and then not receiving another school place as all are full.  To Louie reacting to the attack with panic and distress.  It's been a full time job dealing with all the ID parades, meetings with schools, local council, police and Victim support.  On the upside, I recognise the amazing support system I have.  Friends and family have been great and I've met some lovely people along the way.

Over the past two months I have surprised myself and been forced to move on out of self absorption and get back to being me.

I have had the pleasure of working with the wonderful team at Isossy Children and gained a new title in the process, Art Director!  Woohoo!  One more skill to add to my LinkedIn profile!  The outcomes of that collaborative effort is soon to be released.

I have also hosted a week stay with my in-laws, and will be posting on hosting etiquette in time for your Christmas guests.

But for today it's all about bread!  One thing I remember about my childhood is baking fresh bread, my mum went through a stage of regularly making bread, I often remember having to remove clothes from the airing cupboard in order to make space for rising dough, I'm not entirely sure but I think it was an overnight jobby or it just seemed to take forever.  Either way, it is so simple to make bread nowadays that we, the mini boys and I, have been popping out loaves by the dozen!!

It started with, as usual, a request from our cooking enthusiast Alexander.

Monday, "Mum can we make bread?"  "yes dear"

Tuesday, "Mum can we make bread today?" "yes dear"
Tuesday late morning, "Mum can we make bread now?"  "oh yes, of course, lets get ready then"

Louie hates cream, hence the plain side!!

Unfortunately my strong bread flour had been in the cupboard for almost a year and had grown a lil village of crawly things.. ewwww!
That day we made a Victoria sponge with fresh cream and strawberries instead.

Wednesday, "Mum can you buy new flour with no crawlies to make bread today?"
So that's what we did.  We used a Jamie Oliver simple bread recipe found on the Internet mixed with a Pinterest recipe to start with.  I wasn't completely sold so made a new batch using the recipe on the side of the easy bake yeast tin which seemed a lil too long and drawn out so I mixed the three recipe's and bammmm!  The OB&T easy bake bread recipe was born!!  That and the fact that I had less of the white flour so had to adjust amounts.  But this makes a lovely light, tasty, easy loaf.  No hard crust though so the wrong recipe to use if that's what you need in a loaf.

Ready to begin?

As Alexander would say "I'm making fresh bread" 

 Now wash your hands and "Bubbles mean our hands are clean."

OB&T Easy Bake bread

325g strong white bread flour
175g wholemeal bread flour
300ml tepid water
2 table spoons of castor sugar
2 teaspoons of easy bake yeast (I used Allinsons)
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
15g softened butter

2 handfuls of sultanas
1 pinch of mixed spice


Stage 1:
Pour flour into a large bowl and rub in the butter.  Make a well in the centre.  Pour half your water into the well, then add your yeast, sugar and salt and stir with a fork.

Stage 2:
Slowly bring in the flour from the inside of the well.  Continue to bring the flour in to the centre until you get a stodgy, porridgey consistency – then add the remaining water. Continue to mix until it's stodgy again, then you can be more aggressive, bringing in all the flour, making the mix less sticky. Pat and push the dough together with all the remaining flour. (Certain flours need a little more or less water, so feel free to adjust.)

Stage 3:
Take your dough out of the bowl.  With a bit of elbow grease, simply push, fold, slap and roll the dough around, (knead) over and over, for 7 or 8 minutes until you have a silky and elastic dough.  Cue the music James Brown and Melodic Chaotic should do it <click on the link

Stage 4: First prove

Flour the top of your dough. Put it in a bowl, cover with cling film, and allow it to prove for about half an hour until doubled in size – ideally in a warm, moist, draught-free place. This will improve the flavour and texture of your dough.  I placed ours in our boiler cupboard.

Stage 5: Second prove, flavouring and shaping
Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out for 30 seconds by bashing it with a rolling pin.  The boys LOVE this bit and usually go over the 30 seconds but it doesn't seem to do any harm.  You can now shape it or flavour it as required, I split into two loaves and add a pinch of mixed spice and two handfuls of sultanas to one, leaving the other plain.  Place your bread dough on to a flour-dusted baking tray

Leave it to prove for a second time for an hour until it has doubled in size once more. This is the most important part, as the second prove will give it the air that finally ends up being cooked into your bread, giving you the really light, soft texture.  This time I left my tray on the hob when the oven is put on the heat keeps the room warm.  DO NOT COVER.

Stage 6:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Very gently  place your bread on tray into the preheated oven. Don't slam the door or you'll lose the air that you need. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked and golden brown. You can tell if it's cooked by tapping its bottom – if it sounds hollow it's done, if it doesn't then pop it back in for a little longer. Once cooked, place on a rack and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.

Finished.... Now just enjoy with whatever topping you'd like or just by itself is grand!

You can even make rolls too!!!  Just divide them into smaller portions….  Bite sized!

If you've found this post useful or have any suggestions to add, please feel free to comment in the box below.  All suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

All pictures by Only Boys and Tomboys of the OB&T family and home.  All products purchased independently from our local supermarket.

Tomboy -x-

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