Collage of easy everyday bread varieties

Were you part of the sourdough craze during lockdown? I was, briefly, but quickly discovered that it was too ‘needy’ and I soon turned my back on sourdoughs I didn’t have the patience to give the starter the nurturing it needed. We wanted  a ‘healthier’ bread, but my family still wanted a light chewy loaf, an everyday bread that wasn’t entirely white flour.

To me, a simple everyday bread should just contain wheat, water, yeast and salt. 100% white flour bread is easy to make light and chewy. Wholegrain and wholemeal flours are definitely healthier,  but they can make bread heavy and dense. My objective was to make my regular everyday bread more nutritious. I already had a dependable recipe and realised that I only needed to revisit what kinds of wheat it used.

My previous version was the incredibly simple Overnight Bread, which is still a family favourite (as well as with friends and neighbours). It’s quick, easy and the dough lasts in the fridge for up to 5 days, with the long proving time imparting a lovely sourdough-like flavour.

My original recipe was based on using a total of 900g of flour. I experimented by introducing ‘non-white’ flours to this total. I found that a maximum of 400g wholegrain flour with 500g white flour worked well, without being too dense. Next, I tried wholegrain spelt, and found 300g wholegrain spelt flour with 600g white flour was even better. This combination quickly became the new favourite bread dough.

Chef’s Tip

If you are wanting to introduce wholegrain loaves to your family and are worried that they might reject it, you may like to start with just 100g/800g and gradually increase the wholegrain amount (keeping the total weight of flour at 900g) overtime. Keep in mind, the more wholegrain flour you use, the more water you may need to add.

Everyday Bread

Equipment:

  • Mixer with a dough hook
  • Loaf tins, baking sheet or pizza stone – depending on your preferred style of bread.

Ingredients:

  • 18g salt
  • 20g yeast
  • 900g flour of your choosing
  • 750ml-800ml  cool water

Method:

Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl – keeping yeast and salt separate.

Using your mixer’s dough hook, mix for 12-15 minutes until smooth and stretchy. (It should start clinging to the hook and leave the sides of the bowl clean.)

Move it to a container large enough for it to possibly triple in size and cover with or a lid or a clean teatowel.

Put into the fridge to prove, this may take around 12 hours, I make it in the evening so it’s ready in the morning or vice versa.

In the morning, depending on the size of the loaf you want to break/measure off a portion of the dough.

Shape it on a floured surface and place into a tin (or onto a baking tray if you’re making a flatter loaf). The dough will roughly double in size during its second proving, which may take up to an hour depending on room temperature. Have a look at my bread proving video if you want to see how the size of the dough will increase during the second proving – the video is only 6 seconds long, but the bread actually took an hour to rise in the tins.

If you prefer a crispy crust, put a tray of water in the oven when pre-heating.

Preheat your oven to 240˚C (or 220˚C fan-forced).

Turn down the temperature by 20ºC, 10 minutes after you put the bread in the oven.

Cooking times

These are a guide, your oven will differ:

  • 600-700g large loaf approximately  35-40  minutes
  • 320g Baguettes take approximately 16 minutes
  • 320g Flatbreads and 120g buns take approximately 16 minutes

For a ready healthy whole grain loaf you might like to try a Freekeh Three Seed bread

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