This is my first attempt at making bread. And I could not be happier about the end result! The outside was crunchy, and inside was soft with a lovely wholemeal texture. My family certainly appreciated having home baked bread for the first time; and as a baker I certainly appreciated the rustic smell of bread wafting through my kitchen. Thanks to Taste.com.au for the recipe.
2 cups wholemeal self-raising flour
1 1/3 cup plain flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 sachet (7g) dried yeast
1 tsp salt
375mL lukewarm water
+ 2 tbsp butter, for brushing
+ 1 tbsp lukewarm water, for brushing
+ 1-2 tbsp your choice of seed (eg. sunflower, pumpkin, poppy)
Brush a 10 x 20cm (base measurement) loaf pan with the melted butter to lightly grease. Measure all your ingredients. Place the flours, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the water to the dry ingredients. The water needs to be lukewarm to activate the yeast and encourage it to grow. If the water is too hot, it can kill the yeast. To test whether it is at the right temperature, sprinkle a little on the inside of your wrist - it shouldn't be too cold or too hot. Use a wooden spoon to stir until combined and then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. (You can tell when the dough has been kneaded enough by pressing your finger into the surface of the dough - if it springs back, it has been kneaded sufficiently). Shape the dough into a ball. Brush a large bowl with the melted butter to grease. Place the dough into the bowl and turn it over to lightly coat the dough surface with the butter. This will stop the surface of the dough drying out as it stands, which can affect the rising process. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and then place it in a warm, draught-free place to allow the dough to rise. (The ideal temperature for rising bread dough is around 30°C). Leave the dough in this spot until it is double its size. This quantity of bread dough should take between 45-75 minutes t double in size. (When the dough is ready, it will retaining a finger imprint when lightly pressed). Once the dough has doubled in size. Punch it down in the centre with your fist. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead again for 2-3 minutes or until smooth and elastic and returned to its original size. Preheat oven to 200°C. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and shape each into a smooth round. Place the portions of dough side by side in the greased loaf pan. Brush lightly with the melted butter. Stand the pan in a warm, draught-free place, as before, for about 30 minutes or until the dough has risen about 1cm about the top of the pan. Gently brush the loaf with a little water and then sprinkle with your choice of seeds. Bake in preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. The best way to tell when the loaf of bread is cooked is to tap it on the base with your knuckle - if it sounds hollow, it is cooked. Turn the loaf immediately onto a wire rack and allow to cool. (If left in the pan, the loaf will sweat and the crust will become soft). Once cool, store the loaf in a well-ventilated place at room temperature. This bread is best eaten on the day it is made. However, it makes great toast 1-2 days later.