21 May 2013

Crusty White Bread

It’s bean a month or so since I baked bread & these Autumn days have again put me in the mood for bread.  Winter makes me want comfort & along with soup, casseroles, stews & potatoes there is bread.  Bread baking in the over, the smell wafting through the house ti just makes you crave a slice or 2, or even 3, slathered in butter.

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
James Beard

This month’s Twelve Loaves challenge is your favourite bread.  Much as I tend to the brown & the grainy when baking & for breakfast every day it is white bread that is my favourite.  Pour, maligned, evil white bread.  However for me it has fond memories of my childhood back before it became evil incarnate; we hadn’t heard of Dr Atkins back then, carbs weren’t the bad guys & I hadn’t hear of gluten either! This was the ‘80s  & sitting around the kitchen table with friends we would drink cup after cup of coffee & eat lots of toast, white toast, while we gossiped & laughed & put the world to rights. It was also the go to snack at university when you arrived home in the wee hours. 

“I like bread, and I like butter - but I like bread with butter best.” 
Sarah Wiener

Bread & butter is the simple pleasure & for me the other classic with white bread is the bacon sandwich.  The bread should be white, the bacon crisp & the only accoutrement some good butter. To toast or not to toast?  Well I just go whichever way I like, sometimes it’s fresh & sometimes it is toasted.

Toasted reminds me of my Gran.  She ran a B&B on the Isle of Skye & when staying with her over the Summer holidays we feasted on bacon sandwiches after all the guests were fed.  White toast, a lot of butter, bacon & cut in 2 quarters.  So you see for me white bread, toasted or fresh, has always been associated with good memories. As with most things I think a little of what you like is always a good thing, moderation & balance are the key.

Crusty White Bread adapted from here & here

Makes 3 small loaves


1 tbsp runny honey
370ml lukewarm water 500g /1lb. flour, plus a little for dusting
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt


Place the water & honey in a small bowl & whisk to dissolve the honey. In to a large bowl sift the flour & add the yeast & the salt.  Stir to mix everything together.  Make a well in the middle & pour in the water & honey mixture.  Mix everything together with a fork & then as it is all just coming together use your hands to gently knead the dough in to a ball.  The dough will still be a little rough but that is all OK, we are talking easy & a little bit rustic here.  Sprinkle a little flour over the top, cover with cling film & place in a cosy corner to rise for an hour or 2.

Pre heat your oven to 220C/425F

One the dough has double in size turn it our on to a floured surface.  Divide the dough in to 3 & shape in to little logs. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper & place in the oven, yep straight in to the oven no more proving or rising required.  From here on in the oven will do all the work.

Bake for 15 minutes & then turn down the temperature to 160C/320F.  Cook for a further 10-15 minutes until the bread is light golden & cooked through.  Use the tap test, tap the bread & if it sounds hollow it is cooked.

I know here is where I should say let the bread cool....but really?  I can never resist a slice straight away with butter as there is not much that beats freshly baked bread with a generous dollop of butter. Or as my Gran would have it a little bread with her butter!

This bread is a winner, for me not too light & not too heavy & perfect for a bacon sandwich.

“‘A loaf of bread,’ the Walrus said, ‘is what we chiefly need: Pepper and vinegar besides are very good indeed.’” 
Lewis Caroll

If you like this you might like this Rosemary & Walnut Irish Soda Bread
One year ago Auckland Eats Villa Maria
Two years ago Beef Bourguignon



  1. I agree there is nothing better than crusty white bread fresh from the oven. When I lived in NZ I used to eat it slathered with butter and manuka honey. Great blog, love your photos!

    1. Thanks Karen, I love butter & honey too....well butter & just about anything actually!

  2. I love bread and miss it so much. Thankfully Martin has "agreed" to spelt pizza as a one a week treat or a loaf so I'm looking forward to some yummy bread this weekend.

    1. Sorry to tease Julie! I do actually use spelt a lot...one of my favourite flours to work with.


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