White bread

This recipe comes from the book, one of the few loaf recipes.

Ingredients

3lb plain flour
6 level tsps salt
Half oz dried yeast
1.5 pints water

Activate the yeast by sprinkling it over a quarter cup of the liquid which has been brought to blood heat and leave for 10-15 minutes. Mix the flour and salt then add the yeast and the rest of the water. Knead for 10 minutes then leave to rise until doubled in size. Knead again for a further 2-3 minutes. Grease and line tins if using. Shape dough and fill tin to three-quarters or shape into rolls and place in a baking sheet and leave to prove until filled the tin or has reached the desired size.
Bake initially at 230 for 15 minutes then turn oven down to 200 and bake for further 20-30 minutes until golden and base sounds hollow when tapped.

This quantity is enough to make three 1lb loaves. I thirded this recipe as I only have one 1lb loaf tin. So this time I made this with just regular plain flour, not bread flour. I mentioned in the poppy seed plait recipe that the book does mention bread flour but as it wasn’t widely available back then that plain flour can be used. It worked fine with the plain flour was easy to knead and rose really well. Always a great smell having fresh bread in the oven! Also had to sample warm with butter, was great. Slightly denser texture than breads I’ve made with strong bread flour but still was a great loaf.

Would I make this again? Yes, now know I can make a decent loaf even if I’ve run out of bread flour!
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Poppy seed plait

This is from the bread, rolls and buns chapter. There’s actually not many loaf recipes, instead most of the yeast recipes are for cakes and tea breads.

Ingredients

1 tsp sugar
Half pint milk
Quarter oz dried yeast
1lb plain flour
2 tsps salt
2oz butter
Egg or milk to glaze
Poppy seeds

Dissolve the sugar in quarter pint of the milk. Activate the yeast by adding to the remaining milk which has been warmed to blood temperature. Mix the flour and salt, rub in the fat, then add the yeast and milk and mix to a soft dough. Beat and knead until smooth then leave to rise until doubled in size. Knead lightly and roll into an oblong. Cut into three strips lengthways, keeping the dough just joined at the top, plait the strips, damp the edges to seal together. Put on a greased baking sheet brush with egg or milk and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 220 for 30-45 minutes, reducing the heat if the bread becomes too brown.

The recipes does say plain flour, but there is a blurb about flours at the start of the chapter that says strong bread flours should be used but as they are not widely available plain flour would work. Also at first had no idea how to measure a quarter of an ounce of yeast, but apparently it’s just about the same as 3 teaspoons, so that’s what I used and worked perfectly. I did turn the temperature down as it was looking well browned quite quickly.

I find bread making quite satisfying. The kneading stage is a good workout for the arms and quite therapeutic! I also take great satisfaction in seeing the dough once it’s risen. I have few places in the house I leave the dough to rise; in the summer it’s at the back window with the sun beating in, then in the winter it’s either on the tumble drier or beside the radiator! I’d love an aga but our little house is not big enough! I think I ended up leaving this to rise for about 3 hours. I do have a bread maker that I use for making sandwich loaves during the week but at weekends I do enjoy making bread by hand.

The smell of bread baking is just brilliant and freshly made bread warm from the oven spread with butter is even better! Would be great with sesame seeds. Maybe next time I’ll try the 8 strand plaited loaf!

Would I make this again? Oh yeah
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