Ok now, let’s be honest: Where do you buy bread? At a local bakery? At the supermarket? As much as we would probably all enjoy fresh bread from a quality bakery every day, you have to admit that bakeries are much more expensive than supermarkets. Especially for students, who often live on a tight budget anyway, fresh bakery bread is therefore more a treat saved for special occasions than an every day food.
But the good news is: You can make your own bread – as tasty as from a bakery, though much cheaper and with just 5 minutes of work per loaf. Yes, you will need no more than five minutes (plus baking time, obviously) to make an amazing loaf of bread! And, since the recipe below describes a no knead bread – no exhausting kneading! I have to confess, my doubts were very high concerning no knead breads, since I still remember how my late grandmother once told me that in order for a bread to rise properly, you have to knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. Well, I’ve tried kneading for 10 minutes several times, and my bread never turned out as great as will the no knead method. So give it a try yourself!
Before we start: You can use whatever kind of flour you like for your bread, what I have written below is my personal favourite, but feel free to adjust it to your liking.
- 1 1/2 cups plain wheat bread flour
- 1 cup wholemeal wheat flour
- 1 cup rye flour
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 sachet of dry active yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Take a big plastic container (alternatively a large bowl, though it does take up more space in the fridge) and pour in the lukewarm water. Add the dry active yeast and stir well. Now add the first three cups of flour and one and a half teaspoons salt and mix the dough with a spoon. Add a little more flour – up to the recommended 1/2 cup – until you get a firm dough. Do not knead it with your hands – trust me, you will end up with a nice, fluffy bread anyways! The dough should be a bit ‘wetter’ then normal bread dough, so don’t worry if it sticks to the side of the container a little.
Once you’ve mixed the dough, losely place the lid of the container on top of it, but without closing it properly. You do this to prevent the dough from getting dry, but you don’t want to seal it airtight as that will prevent the dough from rising. If you are using a bowl or container without a lid, wrap some kitchen foil around it and cut a few small holes into the foil.
Now put the container in a warm place (I often put it on top of the oven when I am baking something) and leave it to rise for two hours. Depending on what flour you use, the dough can easily double or tripple in size, so make sure your container is big enough and check on the dough a few times.
After the two hours, simply place the container in your fridge – you can now use the dough for up to two weeks to bake your own fresh bread.
When you want to bake a few rolls or a loaf of bread, take the dough from the fridge and dust some flour over it. Dust your hands as well, and take out the desired amount of dough. (For making bread, I would recommend one third up to one half of the amount of this recipe, for making rolls the size of a small fist for each roll.)
Now, take the dough in both hands, and gently pull at the sides to creat a smooth surface. You want to end up with a ball-sized shape with a smooth surface on top, this way the bread will rise nicely in the oven. It doesn’t really matter what the bottom looks like, so don’t worry if it looks a little weird – all you need is the smooth surface on top.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dust with some flour. Place your dough on top and leave to rise – about 45 minutes for a loaf of bread and 25 minutes for rolls. As a rule of thump, you leave the dough to rise for the same amount of time as you will bake it in the oven.
Once the douph has risen, start preheating the oven to 180° C. Use a sharp, wet knive to cut into the surface of the dough – this way it will rise even better in the oven. If you want to put some seeds on your bread, brush the dough with water, sprinkle with the seeds and gently press them into the dough. I usually have a mixture of flax seeds, caraway seeds and coarse salt ready for this, but pumpkin or sunflower seeds will work as well!
Fill a oven-safe dish with water and place at the bottom of you oven or on the same tray as your bread. Place the bread in the oven and bake a loaf of bread for 45 t0 50 minutes and rolls for 20 to 25 minutes. Take from the oven and leaf to cool. Enjoy!
Note: If you feel that your bread is a bit to wet after baking, add 3 tablespoons more flour to your dough or increase the baking time for up to 5 minutes. Flour is a natural product, so the amount of water it abservers always differs slightly.