The combination of granary and strong white flour creates a soft, light bread which is full of a delicious malted flavour.
For years now, I have made bread in my bread machine but have recently started learning how to do it properly. I warn you, it’s addictive! The transformation from sticky lumps to silky smooth dough, as you knead, is very satisfying.
6 bread-making tips:
- Do not let the salt touch the yeast, until starting to mix, as salt ‘retards’ the yeast (prevents it from working properly).
- Use cold water. The longer you allow a dough to prove, the more flavour it will develop. If you add warm water, this speeds up the process thus reducing flavour.
- You can knead by hand or using an electric mixer with a dough hook but you will learn more about the correct consistencies if kneading by hand.
- Kneading the dough helps to develop the gluten in the flour which creates a lovely smooth, elastic texture.
- Do not add more flour into your dough when kneading as this changes the consistency. It is better to use oil on the work surface.
- Generally, bread dough needs to rise for an hour or more, you then shape the dough and allow it to prove (2nd rise) for another hour before baking.
Dough after kneading:
Dough after rising:
Shaped dough after proving (it will be visibly soft, light and airy at this point):
I have made this Light Granary Bread by hand and in an electric mixer with a dough hook. As my photos show, I have also created varying sizes of loaf; one large loaf, 2 smaller loaves or individual rolls. Once you are more confident at making bread you will start experimenting with sizes, shapes and flavours. The choices are endless!
I still feel like a beginner when I attempt to knead dough but find it really useful to watch videos of others on-line.
There are many different techniques but as you practise you will find what works for you.
LIGHT GRANARY BREAD
adapted from ‘Malted Loaf’ by Paul Hollywood
- 250g malted granary bread flour
- 250g strong white flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 10g salt
- 10g fast action yeast
- 30g unsalted butter
- 300ml cold water
- Olive oil for kneading
- Oats for topping (optional)
1. Sieve the flours into a large bowl. Add salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter and about ¾ of the water.
2. Start to mix together, gradually adding more of the water to collect all flour from the sides of the bowl. You might need a little more or less water. Paul Hollywood says ‘you want dough that is soft, but not soggy’.
3. Once it has come together into a rough ball, you can begin kneading. To do this, smear a little olive oil over your worktop and work the dough for about 10 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky to start with but as you work it it will become a much smoother consistency with a soft skin (be brave – the first time I made this I thought my worktop would never be clean again but I promise it comes together!)
4. Put your dough into an oiled bowl and cover with either a tea towel or cling film. Leave it to rise for at least an hour, or if you have time, up to 3 hours. It should double in size.
5. Prepare a baking tray by lining it with baking parchment.
6. Lightly dust your worktop with flour and ‘knock back’ the dough. The purpose of this is to remove air from the dough to make it easier to shape. Fold it into the middle repeatedly. Shape the dough and place onto the baking tray. (To create a round ‘cob’, place the dough with the creases on the worktop and using the edges of your hands cup and turn the ball of dough around, gradually tightening the top of the dough and creating a neat join on the bottom. If you prefer, this recipe will make 12 rolls. Cut into 12 evenly-sized pieces and shape as above.)
7. Place the baking tray into a clean, plastic bag and leave to ‘prove’ for about an hour. Heat your oven to 200°C fan/220°C.
8. Before baking, you may wish to dust the top of your dough with flour or oats, or cut a deep cross on the top (see photos above).
9. Bake for 30-35 minutes. To test if bread is cooked, tap on the bottom, it should sound hollow. If you are unsure, I recommend baking for a further few minutes: bread should have a deep colour and crunchy crust.
10. If you wish to cut neat slices, cool the bread on a wire rack. Otherwise, just get stuck in when it’s warm and slather on the butter!!