Baking your own bread is easy. You can make an organic loaf at a fraction of the cost compared to a supermarket and you will have the satisfaction of controlling the ingredients. The smell of bread baking is irresistible. The taste of a freshly baked loaf is wonderful.
Most bread is made using white or wholemeal wheat flour which is rich in gluten. Other flours such as rye and barley also make good breads.
The following is a basic recipe for a standard wholemeal loaf but there are innumerable variations available.
Ingredients: 1.1Kg of wholemeal flour; 3 tsp of salt; 15g of dried yeast; 2 teaspoons of sugar and 0.75 litres of warm water.
1. Add the sugar to the yeast with sufficient warm water. Cover and leave in a warm place to allow the yeast to activate and become frothy.
2. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the salt, pre-activated yeast and the remaining water.
3.Flour a surface and knead until the dough it is soft and malleable, cover and leave in a warm place for about 40 minutes until it doubles in size.
4.Flour a surface and knead again for five minutes, shape into a loaf, cover and leave in a warm place for about 30 minutes until the loaf doubles in size.
5. Place in a warmed, oiled and floured loaf tin and cook for 45 minutes at 220c.
You can use the above dough mixture, with the addition of a few teaspoons of olive oil to soften the dough, to make pitta bread which accompanies many Cypriot meals.
1. When the dough has doubled in size after the first kneading, divide it into small balls roughly the size of a tennis ball.
2. Flour a surface and flatten each ball into an oval shape about 0.6mm thick. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.
3. Brush each pitta with cold water before baking in a pre-heated oven at 230c for about 8 minutes. The pittas should be removed when they start to puff but before they harden.
4. Wrap the pittas in a tea towel to retain their moisture and serve with a fresh salad, kebab and hummus.