This recipe is for a single loaf of wholemeal bread. It comes out
quite dense (i.e., there are no big air bubbles in it) but is
pretty darn tasty. If you replace the wholemeal flour with
granary flour below, you end up with a granary loaf instead.
(Surprise!) My normal bake is two loaves, one wholemeal and one
granary as it's more economical with the oven. I always make the
wholemeal one before the granary as the latter leaves the bowl and
utensils too sticky! The emphasis here is on speed, not culinary
excellence: the two loaves take me about 20 minutes of preparation and
another 5-10 minutes spread over 90 minutes or so.
- Weigh out 20 oz of strong wholemeal flour and put it in the
oven, set to 50 degrees Celsius, for 10 minutes.
- While the flour is warming through, gather together the other
things you'll need:
and boil the kettle too.
- sugar, preferably brown caster sugar
- a sachet of easy-bake yeast
- a mixing bowl, a large wooden spoon, something to measure out
teaspoons -- a teaspoon, perhaps ;-)
- a clean tea-towel or similar, wetted with cold water and wrung out
The yeast needs a little further explanation: you can buy dried
yeast that can be added to the flour and rises at room
temperature -- none of this messy faffing about that our parents
remember. Being congenitally lazy, I use this. While I
remember, there's no kneading either: that's why the bread isn't full
of air bubbles.
- You'll need a loaf tin in which to cook the bread. The
loaf tins I use were bought really cheaply from the local co-op.
(I sterilized these with boiling water when I bought them, but they've
never been washed since as that encourages the loaf to stick to the
tin.) Grease the inside of the tin with fat (butter, margarine
- Clean a region of a bench. You're going to put the dough
onto this. Then make sure it's nice and dry.
- When the four has warmed up, measure out about 3/4 pint
(that's a UK pint, not one of those short measures one gets in the
USA) of water. It should be hot but bearable.
- Mix together the flour, yeast, a teaspoon of the sugar and
about 2 teaspoons of salt in the mixing bowl. Then add the
water, a little at a time, mixing it in thoroughly with the wooden
spoon. The aim is to produce a single lump of dough which has
taken up all the dry flour, but which isn't wet and slimy to the
- Sprinkle flour onto your cleaned bench surface and onto your
hands. Then work the flour in the mixing bowl a bit, making sure
it's a single, homogeneous lump of dough. Then lob it onto the
bench and spread it out a bit with your knuckles. I aim for
something about half an inch thick.
- Roll the dough up and put it into the loaf tin. Push it
in quite hard, to make sure it fits into the corners. Then put
it to one side and cover it with the damp cloth.
- You want the bread to rise for an hour, then put it into the
middle of a a hot oven (190 degrees Celsius). My oven takes 15
minutes to heat up so I set my oven timer for 45 minutes, turn the
oven on and leave it for a further 15 minutes.
- Wash the mixing bowl and utensils. Wet flour is really
sticky (remember using flour-and-water paste as a kid?) so, if you
leave them, you'll need a pneumatic drill to clean them.
- The loaf should be cooked for 40 minutes. Then take it
out of the oven, remove the load from the tin, and put it back into
the oven upside down for a further 5 minutes. This
crisps up the crust. When the loaf tin has cooled, just wipe it
out with some kitchen roll.
- Take the loaf out of the oven and leave on a wire cooling rack
until it's well and truly cold. Or if you can't wait, wait until
it's tepid and cut yourself a slice!