As you all probably know by now I enjoy baking my own bread as it's a satisfying thing to do and tastes really good. I've been using the same brand of flour ever since I taught myself to bake bread a few years ago but recently I was lucky enough to try a new brand of flour called Spiffing Flour. This is a flour which has a naturally high protein content and is made of blend of Canadian and European wheat flours. It's a very strong flour and to test it out I decided to let the flour speak for itself by making a basic white loaf. It came packaged in its own little box which I thought was quite a nice touch.
After baking for a while now, I've decided that the following recipe is my favourite for making a basic loaf. I also realised that when I sat down to write this post that even though I've shared lots of bread recipes with you, I haven't shared my basic loaf recipe which I use every week. As it's a new year and I've decided to try a few new things in the kitchen this year, hopefully this post will inspire you to have a go at baking your own bread if you haven't tried it before. Also at the end of this post you can enter a giveaway to win 5 x 1kg bags of Spiffing Flour, perfect if you want to start baking bread.
Ingredients - makes 1 loaf
500g strong white bread flour
7g sachet fast action yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
300ml lukewarm water
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the half the water to start with and the olive oil and start working the flour and water into a dough by hand. Gradually pour in the rest of the water and continue to form the dough with your hand. This should give you a soft, slightly sticky dough. If it feels too dry add a splash more water or if it feels too wet add a little extra flour.
|Dough after kneading and before first proof|
- Turn out onto a lightly oiled work surface (this stops the dough from sticking without affecting the flour to water ratio) and knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth elastic dough. Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film then leave to rise for at least an hour or until doubled in size.
- Knock back the risen dough, knead lightly for a minute and either place the dough into a 2lb loaf tin or create a free form shape on a baking tray. I'm enjoying free form bread at the moment so to make my loaf I shaped the dough into a long, fat sausage. Cover the dough with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise again until nearly doubled in size. This will take about 40 minutes.
- Just before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan). Remove the cling film and using a sharp knife cut slashes in the top of the dough. You don't have to do this but it gives a nice finish to the loaf. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the bread is risen and golden and the base sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
So what's the verdict on this bread compared to the bread I make with my normal brand of flour? Well I can definitely tell the difference when using a stronger flour, it gives the bread a good crumb structure. It also tastes good as well and makes an excellent cheese sandwich, my usual lunchbox staple.
Here's a little bit more information about the company and where you can buy their flour which costs £1.50 a bag.
" Eurostar are a leading specialist supplier into the UK of quality Italian flours, and this 1kg Very Strong Flour is the first retail product that this company have produced. Made up of a blend of Canadian Manitoba and European wheat, the flour has a naturally high protein (13%), without the requirement of added gluten, which is perfect for making bread, including European breads such as ciabatta and focaccia, and pizza bases. The bread produced from this strong flour will withstand even the roughest of buttering men! Available to buy online at www.spiffingflour.com and at selected independent retailers. Enquiries – email@example.com "
For your chance to win one of 4 prizes of 5 x 1kg bags of Spiffing Flour please enter via the Rafflecopter form below. You need to leave a comment on this post to enter and all the other entry methods are optional. There are 4 prizes available. This giveaway is open to UK residents only. The winners will be contacted by email at the end of the giveaway by Blue Kitchen Bakes. The prizes will be sent direct from Eurostar to the winners. The closing date is midnight 1st February 2013.
NB. The blog comment is mandatory for entry to the giveaway. If you click enter on the rafflecopter form without leaving a comment then your entry will not be counted. All other forms of entry via Twitter and Facebook will also be validated so if you say you've tweeted, liked or followed without doing it then your entry won't count.
Disclaimer: I was sent some Spiffing Flour to try. Except for the text in quotes, all views and opinions are my own.