Simple and economical to make, Household Bread is ordinary white bread, the type most often seen in shops. But like
anything home-made, it certainly looks and tastes better. This recipe makes enough dough to fill four 1 pound loaf tins, but it is more interesting to bake the bread in different containers, or shape the dough into individual braids, rolls, long French-style loaves or round Italian-style loaves.
FOUR 1-POUND LOAVES
2 teaspoons butter
1 oz. yeast
1 tablespoon plus
1 teaspoon sugar H pints plus 4 teaspoons lukewarm water
3 lb. flour
1 tablespoon salt
Grease the 4 tins with the butter.
Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in
1 teaspoon of sugar with a kitchen fork. Add 4 teaspoons of water and cream the water and yeast together to form a smooth
paste. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for
15 to 20 minutes, or until the yeast has risen and is puffed up and frothy.
Put the flour, the remaining sugar and the salt into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour
mixture and pour in the yeast and the remaining lukewarm water. Using your hands or a spatula gradually draw the flour into the liquid. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn the dough out on to a floured board or marble slab and knead for about 10 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes sticky. The dough should then be elastic and smooth.
Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.
Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth. Set the bowl in a warm, draught-free place and leave it for 1 to 1
½ hours, or until the dough has risen and has almost doubled in bulk.
Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into four pieces and roll and shape each piece into a loaf. Place the loaves in the tins, cover with a damp
cloth and return to a warm place for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the dough has risen to the top of the tins.
Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F (Gas Mark 9, 240°C).
Place the tins in the centre of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to hot 425 °F (Gas Mark 7, 220CC), put the bread on a lower shelf in the oven and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes.
After removing the bread from the oven, tip the loaves out of the tins and rap the undersides with your knuckles. If the bread sounds hollow, like a drum, it is cooked. If it does not sound hollow, lower the oven temperature to fairly hot
375°F (Gas Mark 5, 190°C), return the loaves, upside-down, to the oven and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes.
Cool the loaves on a wire rack.