It’s halfway through March and I’ve managed to bake my second loaf of bread. Just to be clear, I don’t own a breadmaker. Like many young people at the moment, the only accommodation I can afford on my low income is a room in a flat-share. I simply don’t have space for much kitchen equipment beyond a hand blender. So you really CAN make lovely fresh breads with just little counter space and your own fair hands. The initial weighing, mixing and kneading takes about half an hour, then five minutes to knock it back and reshape it between the two proves. I always assume TV cooks are lying when they tell you this kind of thing, but it really is true! Go forth and bake bread.
I was a bit annoyed that the bread caught in the oven (can’t bear to write b*rnt) even though I reduced the temperature and baking time. Definitely feeling persecuted by my oven. I’ll give the times and temperature that Paul Hollywood recommends, perhaps just check it five or ten minutes before the end and adjust the temperature if you know you have an over-zealous cooker. This is a lovely soft white bread with the St Clements tang of citrus zest and bursts of cherry.
- 500g strong white flour
- 10g (2 scant tsps) salt
- 30g (2tbsp) sugar
- 40g butter, room temperature
- 15g (2 sachets) fast action yeast
- 1 lemon, zest only,
- 3 oranges, zest only
- 300ml water
- 75g dried cherries
1. Put all of the ingredients except the cherries and water in a large bowl, with the salt and yeast on opposite sides.
2. Add as much of the water as you need to make a smooth dough, then transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
3. Put back in the bowl, cover and leave to prove for an hour, until doubled in size.
4. Line a baking tray with parchment. Add the cherries to the dough. It’s probably worth doing this in 3-4 batches so they get distributed evenly.
5. Divide the dough in two and roll each to about 30 cm. Twist them together and tuck the ends under. I would try and tuck the cherries inside the loaf to prevent them being scorched in the oven. Transfer to the tray, cover and leave to rise for another hour.