The KitchenAid Christening – Basic White Bread

The plans for having a Birthday BBQ have been shot. The weather is terrible and Hubby is stuck in London. He’s working on a project at the British Motor Show due to open in the next few days. He went down first thing Friday expecting to be there until about 3pm, well it’s now 1pm Saturday and he’s still there. The job hasn’t gone as smoothly as they had hoped. When he eventually gets home I think it’s going to be a very lazy tea of homemade pizza (what we were meant to have yesterday!) and a good bottle of wine.

After getting over the shock of being given a KitchenAid mixer by Hubby I set about trying to decide what to make with it. When they are sold in the UK, they don’t come with a recipe book so it was going to be a bit of an experiment, though I did find some good tips on the internet.

Now, I love baking bread, but never seem to make it often. When I do make it I use the Fresh White Bread recipe from River Cottage Family Cookbook. I couldn’t believe how fast and easy the KitchenAid made bread making. I left the dough inside the airing cupboard for a few hours while I popped to the shops. When I returned the dough had certainly doubled…all over the side of the bowl. Never before has my dough raised so much. I beat the dough down, shaped and left it to rest for a further 30 min, I could literally see the dough rise in front of my eyes! It produced a beautiful light and fluffy loaf albeit lopsided, but who cares. The hardest part was trying to leave it once it had cooked to allow the crust to harden. There is nothing better in the world than a slice of freshly cooked bread slathered in butter, heaven!

I’ve enjoyed the bread making experience so much I’m going to try and bake the majority of the bread we have now and can’t wait for River Cottage to release their 3rd handbook all about bread.

Basic White Loaf
Makes 1 loaf

500g strong white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp of yeast (or 1 sachet of fast-action yeast)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
300ml warm water ( 1/3 freshly boiled, 2/3 cold water)

If you are NOT using fast-action yeast prepare yeast with the warm water & sugar and leave for 15 min to froth.

1) Mix together flour, salt and fast-action yeast (if using).

2) Stir olive oil into the warm water/sugar mix. Pour the liquid slowly into the flour, stirring constantly until well combined. It should form together to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.

3) Knead dough on a floured surface for 10 min. If using a mixer, use dough hook and knead for 2 min. Shape dough into a bowl, place in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to prove in a warm, draft-less place for 2 hours (or until dough has doubled in size).

4) Preheat oven to 240oc. Flatten the risen dough with your hand then knead for a further 30 seconds on a floured surface. Roll out into a fat sausage shape and place in a lightly greased 2lb loaf tin or onto a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with flour and leave to prove for a further 30 min.

5) Cook bread for 10 min at 240oc then turn the oven down to 200oc. Cook bread for a further 10 min. Carefully lift the loaf out of the tin, turn over and cook for another 5 min to allow the bottom of the loaf to brown. If you tap the base of the bread and it sounds hollow the bread is cooked. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

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