Damn do I love me some homemade bread. And to be honest, once I got into a rhythm of it, I didn't feel like it was much work at all - even though for years I thought it was.
Never mind the fact that I loathe getting my hands dirty, and kneading bread falls firmly into "getting my hands dirty" territory. It's like scones - the work is so worth it in the end! I've been making it more and more lately because I kept buying it from farmer's markets for $5 a loaf when I knew full well I could make good bread, and for a fraction of the cost. I just kept telling myself it was too much work, even though I know it's not.
Explain that logic, someone.
Lately I've been eating it with a LOT of organic salted butter. Sometimes a little local honey. often with my homemade strawberry jam. Sometimes with peanut butter and the aforementioned honey. Sometimes with vegemite, or homemade pesto, or whatever else takes my fancy.
But always with the butter. So much butter. Except not with the peanut butter because that is WEIRD AND OH MY GOD WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?
Anyway. The bread. Do it. It's not much work, it's a hell of a lot of reward, and did I mention the butter?
1 7g sachet yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup warm water
2.5 cups white flour
1/2 cup wheatgerm
1 cup rye flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup warm water
1. Mix yeast, sugar and 1/4 cup warm water in a cup and leave to ferment for 5-10 minutes.
2. Add flours and salt to a bowl. Pour in olive oil and yeast mix.
3. Add the 1 cup warm water and mix until it starts clumping together, then turn out onto a floured surface and with floured hands, knead for 10 mintues. Add flour as necessary, I find this one's a little sticky.
4. Pat into a ball and place in an oiled bowl with a tea towel over the top.
5. Put somewhere warm - I put mine in the sun or on the stovetop if I'm preheating the oven. Leave to rise for at least an hour.
6. Punch down the dough and give another quick knead. I hate dirtying my bench again, so I either do it in the bowl or squeeze it just between my hands for a couple of minutes. It seems to work ok!
7. Put it in your tin or on a greased baking tray. Leave half an hour or so for a second rise.
8. Brush top with milk if you like and place in a hot oven - I do more than 200C at least to help it do any more rising and get a nice crust. Bake 30 minutes or so.
9. I leave to cool in the tin for a bit and then place on a wire rack.
I find it keeps for a couple of days just even out on the bench. It's dense, but a nice dense and makes great toast. The crust is awesome and so crispy. Exactly what I like in bread.
You could always add more rye, or substitute the wheatgerm for either more rye or more white flour. I just throw it in because I bought a big jar of it and don't want it to go to waste! I work on the basis of 4 cups flour.