There is an endless variety of breads
you can create and they are not difficult to make. You can use either
fresh, dried, or easy-blend yeast for the recipes. Professional bakers
always use fresh yeast, which you can buy at the delicatessen or some
supermarkets. This does not need as long to activate as dried yeast,
so you can simply mix it to a paste and then use it fairly quickly.
Ordinary dried yeast needs to be mixed with warm water and sugar and
left for about 20 minutes until frothy before being added to the
flour. Easy-blend yeast is added to the dried ingredients before the
warm liquid is mixed in and the dough is made. This is the easiest way
to start if you are not used to making bread, so just adjust the
recipe method according to the instructions on the packet.
The kneading is essential when making bread, so remember to keep going
until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, otherwise the yeast
will not work properly. Some people enjoy kneading by hand; others
like to make the job quicker and easier by using a food processor –
the choice is yours. It will take only a few minutes in a processor,
but you should knead for at least 10 minutes if you are working by
Most mixtures are left to rise twice: the second rising is often
called proving. Times will vary depending on the recipe and the
temperature of the room, but, in a warm room, the dough should take
about 1 hour to double in size on the first rising, and about 40
minutes on the second rising. Cover the dough with oiled clingfilm
(plastic wrap) or a damp tea towel (dish cloth) to prevent a skin
forming on the top.
Between risings, you can shape your dough in almost any way you like —
use a loaf tin (pan), form into a traditional bloomer shape, press two
pieces into a cottage loaf make into rolls. Remember that if you make
smaller-sized loaves, the cooking time will be reduced. Breads usually
need to be baked in a hot oven, and are ready when the loaves sound
hollow when tapped on the base.