Now no need to run to a bakery to grab yourself a loaf… bake a perfect white bread at home!
This simple and easy-to-work with recipe gives a perfect loaf of bread every time I bake.
I inherited this recipe in the seventies from my sister-in-law. The first time I baked this bread was in New Delhi, India in the year 1976, in my prized possession, a Bajaj Oven… with no temperature control, just one on and off switch button! Simple as that, but it worked wonders! Since then, my ovens have changed, countries have changed, but the recipe remains the same.
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp dried yeast
250 ml, water, warm
2 tbsp oil
3½ cups all-purpose flour
1-2 tsp salt
Dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until frothy.
Put the flour into a warm bowl and rub 2 tbsp oil. Add 1-2 tsp salt.
Add yeast liquid to form sticky dough.
Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until well combined, and then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Brush a large bowl with oil to grease. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place to prove, until the dough has almost doubled in size.This takes almost 1 hour.
Punch down the center of the dough with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Push it away from you and then bring it back over the top. Knead dough for 2 minutes or until the dough is elastic and has returned to its original size.
Shape into a loaf and put in a greased, warm tin. Set it aside in a warm, draught-free place to prove again, until double in size. This would also take about 1 hour.
Bake at 230-240 degree C/450-475 degree C in a pre heated oven, for about 30-40 minutes.
To test if your bread is cooked, tap it on the base – it’s ready when it sounds hollow.
Remove bread to a wire rack to cool.
Allow the bread to cool at least 20 minutes before cutting it.
This bread is best eaten on the day it is made.
Slather with a generous spread of jam or butter and serve. You can also make tomato and olive sandwiches, add a slice of cheese and a dash of olive oil. Enjoy!
To make Brown Bread, mix ½ quantity of all-purpose flour and ½ of whole-wheat flour.
Gently brush the loaf with a little water and sprinkle some poppy or cumin seeds.
To make olive and garlic bread, add crushed garlic and olives to the dough, just before shaping the bread.
Brush the dough with a little water and sprinkle with oats.
I have also used the same recipe for making pizza dough. Works great.
Tip: How to shape
Sprinkle some flour. Use a rolling-pin to make a rectangle.
Fold the sides, overlapping right over left. Press the edges. Place the dough, seam side down in the tin.
Or, Use a rolling-pin to make a rectangle and then starting at the small end roll it into a shape. Pinch the ends to close seams.