Basic White Bread Recipe (from which you can make a variety of other breads)

Ingredients 500g Strong White Bread Flour 1 1/4 teasp salt (disperse in the flour) 1 1/2 teasp sugar 2 tablesp. extra virgin olive oil 15g fresh yeast or 7g sachet of fast action yeast 300 ml luke warm water Method:
1.  Mix a little of the warm water with the yeast, so that it dissolves (leave about 5 mins).
Using a Kenwood Chef:
2.  Put the flour and salt in the mixing bowl and sprinkle on the sugar.  Then add the olive oil.
3.  When the yeast has dissolved in the water, add this to the bowl, together with the rest of the water.
4.  Put the dough hook in place, and lower into the mix.
5.  On minimum speed, start to incorporate the liquid into the flour.
6.  Increase speed to 1 – 2 and knead for approximately 6 – 7 minutes.  When you lift the dough hook up, the dough should be quite stretchy.  Get as much off the dough hook as you can.  Lift the dough out of the bowl and place into a clean, oiled bowl after shaping into a rough ball.  Cover with cling film and leave to rise of approximately an hour.  The dough should have risen to almost the top of the mixing bowl.
Using a Thermomix:
2.  Put the flour and salt in the mixing jug and sprinkle on the sugar.  Then add the olive oil.
3.  When the yeast has dissolved in the water, add this to the jug, together with the rest of the water.
4.  Lock the lid into place with the MC off and incorporate the liquid into the flour for 10 – 12 seconds, speed 3.
5.  Then set the timer to 6 minutes, and set to the “wheat” setting.
6.  Unlock the lid and lift the jug out.  Release the blades from the base and tip the contents of the jug into an oiled mixing bowl.  The blades will drop in too, but then all you need to do is scrape the dough off the blades with your fingers.  (I use blue catering gloves to save on messy fingers!)  Alternatively, replace the blades in the jug and whizz briefly at high speed and the remaining dough will release from the blades and stick to the sides of the jug. You can then scrape these bits back into the bowl.
Cover with cling film and leave to rise of approximately an hour until doubled in size. After the dough has risen sufficiently, drop it out of the bowl on to a floured surface.  Knock back a little and shape into a rough circle.
Fold the dough inwards to form a rough, rectangular shape and drop into an oiled loaf tin.  Alternatively, shape in to a rough oval (like a bloomer shape) and leave to rise for about another 40 minutes.  The dough should have risen to slightly above the edge of the tin, or in the case of the free form loaf, until it has increased in size by about another third.  For the bloomer, slash diagonally a couple of times before placing in the oven.
Place into a preheated oven at 225 degrees centigrade for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 190 degrees centigrade for another 15 minutes.  Remove the loaf from the oven and drop out of the tin (it should come out easily if it has been oiled).  Put the loaf back in the oven for another 5 minutes at an increased temperature of 200 – 225 degrees centigrade, to crisp up the sides.  For the freeform loaf, bake at 200 degrees C for 25 – 30 minutes. Leave to cool before eating.
From this basic recipe, you can also make marmite and cheese rolls, Italian focaccia, roasted tomato, garlic and thyme bread, and you can also use the dough as a pizza base. To learn more about making bread:

Bread: Do You Know What You’re Eating?

Did you know that an amino acid used as an additive in bread is sometimes manufactured from human hair?  The substance is called L-Cysteine or E920.

Britain’s leading organic baker, Andrew Whitely, warns of what he calls of “baking’s big secret” – the use of enzymes.  Andrew describes the use of these enzymes as secret because they do not appear on the label. Industrial bakers use a loophole to classify them as “processing aids”. These enzymes are one reason modern bread stays so light and soft for so long. Under the UK’s food labelling rules they don’t need to appear on the label because they are broken down in the manufacturing process and therefore they are not considered to be present in the final product. Andrew describes this as: “a deception that allows the food industry to manipulate what we eat without telling us.”

Andrew’s got a whole list of enzymes he’s concerned about but a particularly worrying one is phospholipase. That’s because phospholipase was originally derived from pigs’ pancreas.

And if you were thinking that by buying an organic loaf you might escape these “aids”, think again. Food enzymes are allowed in organic products so long as they are not derived from GM or GM methods have not been used at any stage in their manufacture.

The only way to be sure your bread is pure and unadulterated and only contains the core ingredients needed to make a decent loaf of bread (flour, yeast, salt & water) – is to make it yourself!

Rita’s Basic White Bread Recipe