This Thursday 17 November is Homemade Bread Day, it is a day to celebrate and make our own homemade bread. Bread is a staple food using flour, water, yeast and sugar, usually it is oven baked but in some cuisines it can be steamed, fried or cooked on a skillet, there are many ingredients that can be added to bread to either make it sweet (sultanas, raisins, cherries, orange peel, cranberries, chocolate chips, bananas, apples, spices) or savoury (onions, pumpkin, herbs, nuts, cheese, seeds such as poppy and sunflower).
Bread is often referred to as the “Staff of life” and has been prepared for at least 30,000 years, there have been two major developments in the industrialization of bread-making the first was in 1912 when Otto Frederick Rohwedder began work inventing a machine that would slice bread, bakeries were reluctant to use it as they thought that sliced bread would go stale, later in 1928 it was re-developed to slice and wrap the bread, then in 1961 came the development of the Chorleywood Bread Process which used intense mechanical working of the dough this dramatically reduced the fermentation period and the time taken to produce the bread, this process is today used around the world in large factories.
White bread was once the preferred bread of the rich whilst the poor ate whole grain bread however in the late 20th Century in most western societies this was reversed as whole grain bread was found to have a higher nutritional value whilst white bread became associated with the lower class.
Homemade bread is far superior in taste, aroma, quality and appearance although it does have a shorter ‘shelf life’ which is not really a problem as it is usually eaten within hours of being made, if you want to have a go at making your own bread see below.
Charlotte’s guide to making delicious bread with children.
When bread making with the under 10’s we recommend preparing the dough in advance, up to step 7, and dividing the mixture into balls to make rolls. Each child can then finish their own fairly easily.
- Just over a pint of tepid water
- 2 sachets of dried yeast
- 1 dessert spoon of brown sugar
- 5 cups of strong white bread flour (note our cup takes around 160g of flour
- 2 cups of either wheat bran, ground oatmeal, wholemeal flour or granary flour (experiment to see which you prefer)
- Handful of seeds – sunflower, poppy, sesame etc.
- Add the dried yeast and the brown sugar to a jug containing the tepid water and whisk until the sugar has dissolved
- In a separate large deep bowl add the strong white flour and the 2 cups of either wheat bran, ground oat meal, wholemeal flour or granary flour (this will give the bread a little more texture) and mix together
- Add contents of the jug and stir and then with your hands form into a ball of dough
- If its too sticky add a little more flour but don’t add too much
- Work the dough by stretching, folding and kneading for 10 to 15 minutes
- Stand in a covered bowl in a slightly warm place until twice the size (about an hour)
- Knead for a second time for around 3 to 4 minutes
- At this stage you can add seeds of your choice (little hands love to prod them into the dough)
- Put into bread tins or make into roll shapes. When making rolls with children you can be creative, try cobs, plaits and cottage rolls
- When the children have finished leave the dough to rise a second time, for around half an hour until it doubles in size
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes for rolls. For a loaf allow 30 – 35 minutes at Gas mark 4 to 5 or 180 C.
- When the bread is cooked, place on a rack until cool. Store in a sealed tin or bag to keep the bread fresh for longer
Happy bread making