Friday, October 30, 2009

white bread (from All About Cookery)

when i was 12 years old, i was given a big brown book entitled "All About Cookery" by my brother who was in Liverpool Uni to do his M.A.

granted, i was ecstatic to receive such a huge book, but i was unsure how to cook everything. there were no interesting pictures to attract a12 year old girl. i was disappointed, and let my Filipino sis in law borrowed the book.

i asked for the book back when i was in my 20s. now a grown woman, i could appreciate the contents and what a treasure trove i have in there.

the book is divided into courses - so there are chapter on soups, starters, and then a separate chapter on fish, poultry and game, meat, suppers and snacks, vegetables and salads, puddings, baking, and even preserves and drinks.

it's a good thing i'm a hoarder.

this morning, without any storebought bread left, i contemplated what to make for breakfast. i finally decided on delicious but simple white bread, one that i used to bake every few days when i was in terengganu and fed me and my late mother for a few years.

this bread can be shaped into cob loaf, or cottage load or farmhouse loaf. it's a bit bland for my taste, so for those who like their bread a bit sweet, add some more sugar.

makes 4 500g loaves or 2 1kg loaves

1 tsp sugar
900ml lukewarm water
15g dried yeast
1.5kg strong flour
1 tb salt
25g margarine
salted water to glaze

stir the sugar into the water until dissolved. sprinkle the yeast on top and leave in a warm place until frothy.
sift the flour and salt into a bowl. rub in the margarine. make a well in the centre and put in the yeast liquid. mix to a firm dough.
turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or untilt eh dough is elastic and smooth. cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour and 1/2 or until doubled in size.
knock back the dough, then knead again for 5 minutes. divide the dough into four portions and shape each into a loaf. place in four greased 500g or two 1kg loaf tins. cover and leave to prove in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has risen to the tops of the tins.
brush the tops of the loaves with salted water, then bake in a preheated hot oven (230 celcius) for 30-40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. cool on a wire rack.

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