One of my small pleasures in life is to bake bread. It makes me feel very much a domestic goddess, it fills my house with a delicious smell and, it just tastes so good! Plus, kneading is definitely therapeutic. I thought I’d showcase my very favourite bread recipes; these are the ones that I make most often and never disappoint.
This is a fast bread; you don’t have to plan ahead to make it and, since it requires no proving time, it’s a good bread to bake when a sudden baking desire strikes you. I’m not the only one who has these, right?
The crumb has an almost cakelike texture because of the butter, while the treacle gives it a very slight sweetness. The buttermilk and baking soda combination guarantees impressive rise. Basically, this is a bread that looks good, tastes divine and is actually very easy to make, even for beginners. It was one of my very first attempts at baking and I’ve made it dozens of times since.
I think bread-baking doesn’t get more basic than this. It’s amazing that flour, water, yeast, salt and a bit of olive oil can give you such tasty goodness. I’ve made this recipe a few times as it is and then I also experimented with adding different kinds of flour. I liked it a lot with half white and half wholemeal flour and it’s also very good with a bit of rye flour thrown in there too.
This was another recipe I tried as a complete newbie to bread baking. It’s a great basic white bread. I really liked working with this dough, it was very well behaved; after just a little bit of kneading the balls of dough had this gorgeous silky texture that made me feel confident it would turn out ok.
Since I got given my starter, I’ve been experimenting with sourdough baking (I’ve even made sourdough pancakes!). I’ve found that working with rye flour is a bit tricky; there’s always a point when I’m making this when it just looks like a sticky mess and I’m convinced it will be a disaster. So I’m always surprised by how nice this bread actually turns out to be. It’s slightly denser than other breads which is why I really like it with a nice warming beef casserole or similar. I also love the diagonal cuts as they make the loaf look stunning.
So far, this has been my favourite sourdough bread that I’ve made. Making it is quite time-consuming but not complicated at all. I’ve found that, for me, it works best if I start the process on Saturday afternoon and, after leaving it in the fridge overnight, bake the loaf on Sunday morning. This yields the most amazing crust and a delicious sour flavour. It’s wonderful with butter and jam; I find it is particularly cheering with lots of blackcurrant jam on grey winter mornings.
So, these are my current favourite bread recipes. If you’ve never baked bread before, I urge you to give it a go. It really is not hard at all and nothing compares to freshly baked bread hot from the oven. If you have experience with baking bread, please, do share your favourites. I am always looking for more recipes to try!