Baking bread is one of the most relaxing and meditative things to do, but at the end you get a lovely loaf or two of bread!
Bread was one of the first things that I ever attempted to bake myself. It’s so simple and the perfect entry to baking. I started with bread because I was young and wanted to play with dough, to my surprise bread led to a whole lot of other things like cakes, pies and a blog.
Bread is one of the most basic things to bake. There’s no fancy flavours or ingredients; just flour, yeast, water, oil and honey. Once you’ve mastered the art of bread, and really that doesn’t take much effort, you can bake it without a recipe. However you get a basic dough is up to you, just make sure you have the correct seasonings and some oil to make the loaf flexible. The rest can be done by feeling it out, it’s really just some water mixed together with flour and yeast. Today, all you need to do is follow my lead. I encourage you to take some time out of your day to try this recipe.
People seem to think that baking bread is too much of an effort but making dough alone takes about 10 minutes and then you’re free. Personally I don’t go to gym, but I do believe kneading bread counts for something! It can be quite the workout. All you have to do is wait 45 minutes to an hour for the dough to rise. It’s not like you have to sit and watch dough rise, just put it somewhere warm and carry on with whatever you’d like. Then you shape it, leave to rise and bake it.
Homemade is always best – even if it doesn’t look professional, it will still taste amazing. It is extremely impressive to present a homemade loaf of bread that you have put your own love and time into. It’s such a thoughtful gift.
Baguette, also known as French bread, uses a basic white dough recipe but is then shaped into a long sausage. Did you know that during the 1800’s in France bakers couldn’t afford to make bread, so they would bulk the dough up using things like sawdust, hay, dirt and even dung? Yum! Haha! Thankfully, bread ingredients are extremely cheap to purchase nowadays so we don’t need to go to those extremes to make a loaf of bread go further.
Homemade Baguette Bread
Makes 2 loaves
- 3 cups stone ground bread flour, plus a little extra
- 10g instant dry yeast
- 1 ¼ cup lukewarm water (make sure it’s not too hot!)
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp honey
1. Place your flour in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour your yeast into the well. Pour the water over the yeast and leave to sit for a minute.
2. Next add the remainder of your ingredients to the bowl. Mix well until dough forms. The dough might seem very wet, but trust me the wetter the better. The wetter your dough the softer the bread’s inners will be.
3. Place onto a floured working surface. Knead for about 10 minutes or until you can stretch the dough without it tearing. By kneading the dough you build up gluten strands in the bread.
4. Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm area for 45 minutes to an hour. By this time the dough will have doubled in size.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Roll each half out into a thick sausage. Flour a tea towel. Place your dough sausages onto the tea towel. Leave to rise for half an hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a long baking tray.
7. Carefully place your baguettes onto your baking tray and slash the tops with a knife. This allows the bread to rise a little more whilst baking. Place in the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes until dark golden brown and crisp. Tap each loaf with your finger, if the loaf has a hollow sound, they are finished baking. Remove from the oven.
I made two open sandwiches topped with homemade hummus, pesto, garlic oil and fresh cherry tomatoes.