Although we live in a fairly isolated hamlet, Bread Man stops by every day except Sunday and we also have another one that comes three times a week. No problems getting hold of that staple carbohydrate for us. However, I enjoy making bread, and don´t always fancy the same type every day, so we restrict our deliveries to three times a week and then I make whatever takes our fancy.
This recipe is one that I generally mix up in the bread maker, but cook in the oven. I do this because I prefer the more rustic shaped loaves I get when I finish them off myself, and because I can cook them with a pan of boiling water at the bottom of the oven to give them a great crust.
Ingredients go into the bread maker in this order
- 350 ml of water
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 4 cups of strong bread flour
- Half a cup of whole meal flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
- 1 sachet of easy blend yeast
This dough can also be made without a bread maker as I used to use this recipe before I bought one. I made the bread using the all in one method i.e. put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix by hand until they come together, then knead for at least 15 minutes until the dough starts to become silky, leave to rise in a lightly oiled bowl and covered with a floured tea towel. Leave to double in size, knock back, knead again, leave to rise and then a final knock back and shape into your loaf then leave to rise a final time.
Whichever method you use, put your loaf onto a floured surface which you will be able to use to slide the bread into the oven and onto a heated baking sheet. I have some flexible chopping boards which work fantastically for this.
When you have shaped your loaf, cut a few slashes in the top and sprinkle the surface with flour. Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and put your baking tray inside. Heat a kettle or saucepan of water and when you are ready to cook, place a deep tin at the bottom of the oven and fill with hot water. Slide your loaf onto the baking tray and cook for about 45 minutes. Exact timings will depend on your oven, but it should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool – try to resist cutting into it while it´s still hot, or you´ll end up with lots of crumbs and slices of bread with holes in them!
En joy with your favourite toppings – butter, cheese, jam or with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt “al estilo Español”. Or try this http://wp.me/p1hSAl-12 which is My Favourite Spanish Breakfast! (Sorry. am having huge problems inserting links, so it probably doesn´t look pretty, but it links to another recipe)