One of the first things I did when I found out that I was going to have to watch my spending this semester, was to ask my mother how to bake bread. I’ve never been a huge bread eater, but it’s reasonably healthy, one loaf lasts a long time and it sure beats having to pay triple the price at the store.
Here’s what you need:
400 grams all purpose flour
100 grams whole wheat flour (if you don’t have any, you can just use 500 grams of all purpose)
110 grams of rolled oats
110 grams of rye flour
30 grams of crushed linseeds
3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
25 grams of active yeast
5 deciliters of water heated to skin temperature
1 tablespoon of oil (I use olive oil, but you can use whatever you have handy)
And here’s what you do:
I like to start by heating my water, so that I’ll be ready for when I need it. Just remember to keep an eye on it, so that it doesn’t get too warm. Then it’ll kill the yeast bacteria and you’ll end up with a brick instead of bread. Though arguably, my mother’s bread is a bit of a brick regardless of what you do to the yeast. But that just means it’s good for you!
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add a tablespoon of oil and set aside while you crumble your yeast into a measuring cup.
Use your finger to test the water temperature, and if it’s not too cold or too warm, pour a little more than 4 deciliters into the measuring cup with the yeast. Depending on how accurately you’ve measured your dry ingredients, you might not need all the water that you’ve heated up, but it’s always good to have a little more than you think you’ll need, just in case, and this way, you’re using all the yeast even if you don’t end up using all the water.
Use a fork to stir until the yeast is completely dissolved, then add it to the dry ingredients. With your hands, mix everything together into a firm dough. If you feel like it’s too dry, add in a little water. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.
Once you’ve got your dough all nice and firm, transfer it to your baking surface and knead it a little bit before shaping it into an oblong roll. Get a oven proof pan (I think mine is a 2 liter) and coat it with oil (butter works too, if you want that). Gently lift your dough into the pan and stab it a few times with a fork. Give it a thin coating of oil, then let it rise for half an hour.
After about fifteen minutes, you can turn on your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Let the dough rise for the remaining fifteen minutes, then bake for around 40 minutes. Smells great, doesn’t it?
Once it’s done, put it on a rack and let it cool for a bit, then enjoy!
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always play around with the ingredients. For instance, my mother’s original recipe didn’t contain cinnamon or cardamom, but I wanted to give my bread a little bit of a spice cake taste (because I love spice cake), so I decided to add those. You can try with different spices, or you can add nuts or dried fruit; just use your imagination!