Sunday, 24 November 2013

Multi-Purpose Bread Dough

Although bread is one of those things that in years gone by would have been made every day without thinking, much in the way that we make a cuppa in the morning, there are not many people I imagine these days that would be able to just make a loaf without reaching for a recipe.  That aspect of it has become a dying art, thanks to the ease and readiness that it can be lifted off of a supermarket shelf.  But there is something warm and fluffy about making it yourself and it also fills the house with a beautiful aroma.

Un-risen dough
I don't make bread all the time, perhaps a few times a month, but when I do I have a recipe that is now pretty much ingrained in my head and therefore simple! 
Making pizza is normally the incentive as the dough that I make I tend to employ for loaves, rolls, focaccia and pizza bases.  After making a pizza base there is normally enough to mould a small loaf or a few rolls too.  I'm a great fan of 'two for the price of one' and making good use of the oven being on so it always makes sense to multi- purpose the dough.
Multi-Purpose Bread Dough
250g strong white bread flour
250g spelt flour
7g dried active yeast (you can get these already in 7g sachets)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 pint warm water
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix the oil in with the warm water in a jug.  Add the wet to the dry and mix initially with a wooden spoon. Then get in there with your hands and knead, adding in just a sparse amount of flour to prevent sticking.  I do all this in the bowl as it makes less mess but you could do this on a floured surface if you find it easier (and that is the way all the books say to do it!). 

After about five minutes you should have a nice smooth but pliable dough.  Lift the dough gently and add a little olive oil to the bowl to grease it before putting the dough back in again.  Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place for a couple of hours.  Sometimes I forget about it until hours later and it has always been fine, having normally at least doubled in size. 
Mould it and bake according to whatever you are making.  After topping, pizza normally takes about 30 minutes at 200 degrees C whilst a loaf of bread just a touch longer.  If in doubt with the bread, give it a tap on the bottom and it should sound hollow.

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