There's been a lovely thread or two about breadmaking on the Gentle Domesticity Group this week and I was asked to share my day to day recipe.
I actually have three 'regulars', and I also make sour dough when I'm in the mood.
But today I'll share the trio which make their way to our table every week and leave the sour dough until another time.
You can download the recipes HERE and you'll find a cute little bread tin stitchery inside them.
One of the questions asked was how I start my bread in the breadmaker but finish it by hand so yesterday during the most amazing downpour of rain I have seen in about five years I took some photos as I made our next loaf.
I used to always knead my bread by hand, start to finish, with great delight. In 2010 I had an operation on one of my fingers and ever since have struggled to do two things, knead dough and knit.
This was when I bought a breadmaker to do the kneading and also to take my loaf through it's first rise.
So that's where yesterday's photos begin, after the first rise.
On a breadmaker there's a number of options for baking bread, sometimes even jam, and I choose the "Dough" setting. I place all my ingredients in the pan, close the lid and press 'dough'. The machine then kneads the mix for about 20 minutes before going quiet and heating a little to allow the dough to rise before 'beeping' me that it's ready. This entire first process takes 90 minutes in my machine.
Now I remove the tin of dough from the machine and spread my cleaned kitchen counter with about a tablespoon of olive oil. I pour another teaspoon or two into the tin I'll use to bake my bread.
Smear the olive oil across the counter with your hands so that you also have the oil over your hands.
Spread the oil around the inside of the baking tin as well.
Drop the dough onto the oily counter top...
...and punch it down before kneading lightly for 20 seconds.
Form the dough into a loaf shape and place in the baking tin. Gently push it around so that it fills to the sides.
Place a plastic bag or cling wrap loosely over the loaf. I use a very large zip lock bag and I place a tall glass inside as well to prevent the dough sticking to the bag when it rises.
Now we let the dough begin it's second rise.
I live in a very warm climate and some days it can double in size within 30 minutes, but usually it takes about 45 minutes.
If you're in a cooler climate it may take up to 90 minutes or 2 hours but the plastic bag over the loaf helps it rise so give that a go as it may be quicker.
Here's my dough doubled in size and ready to bake.
I cut four little peaks into my loaf before popping it into the oven. I find this helps the loaf keep a good shape.
Around 28 minutes later we have bread!
The tin I bake my bread in was a $6 purchase at Woolworths supermarket (Australia) and measures 11 1/4" x 5 1/2" (14 cm x 29 cm).
It slices beautifully.
My husband loves his bread and would eat it at every meal if he could.
His favourite easy dinner is cheese and Vegemite on toast and he often requests these 'easy' dinners on a Sunday night.
Sometimes I bake the dough on a hot stone, especially my sour dough, for a nice rustic loaf when serving soup or if we have guests.
When I bake it that way I use a floured kitchen top and place it on a sheet of baking paper for the second rise and I cut three long slits diagonally across the top.
During the second rise I have the hot stone heating in the oven and once the dough is ready to be baked I take the stone out of the oven, scatter flour over it, and slide the bread off the baking paper and onto the stone before placing it back in the oven to bake my bread.
Bread is delicious this way if you enjoy a crusty loaf!
In fact, I'm going to bake tomorrow's loaf this way!
Sometimes I serve it with homemade labneh instead of butter.
Delicious with some olives, tomatoes, red onions and thinly sliced cold meats.
As I was putting the recipes together I thought I'd share a little bread tin stitchery design from years ago which I used on a bread bag.
When you download the recipes you'll see it on the back page of your Living The Gentle Domestic Life Cookbook recipe sheets.
(Which reminded me that I need to make a new bread bag...)
The rain this week has been incredible and there's more to come.
What a blessing rain is when you are in drought.
I stood outside yesterday and watched the frangipani flowers floating by under the clothesline and thanked God for His goodness, praying the rain is filling the town's dam as we've been on level 3 water restrictions for a very long time now and what was a lush green part of the country has been brown and parched for too many years.
But I think most importantly about our farmers up here, the cattle farmers who watch their stock starve, and I pray their own dams are filling and that there will be many green pastures to follow.
Of course, there's always a downside to a lot of rain.
Like the local cane farmers who have had to pause their cutting season until things dry up.
And the towns south of us who have had roads cut and are even experiencing floods.
The cycle of seasons, rain and fire, storm and sunshine, flood and drought.
May the Lord bless you as we say goodbye to another week and carry you through the next with an abundance of His grace, mercy, provision and love.