Jo's Basic Bread

Well, I did it again.  I said I wasn't going to buy any more cookbooks but I went to Sainsbury's to get a few groceries and there it was... on special...a bargain at £8.

Jo Wheatley, for those living across the Pond, was the winner of a TV cookery competition called The Great British Bake Off.  This show is a force of nature with millions of home bakers devotedly following it and trying every recipe featured on the show.  Jo won the second series, we are now on series three. I am a GBBO addict, so of course, I had to buy this book!  

All the foodies on Twitter have been raving about her Custard Cream Cookies and there is a whole section on making Danish Pastries. I really wanted to try one of those recipes, but I NEED bread so Jo's Basic White Loaf is what I baked.  Here is the recipe straight out of the book:

I am afraid I couldn't follow it exactly.  My kitchen scales are very basic, so I had to 'guess-timate' the salt, sugar and yeast quantities.  I used; 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons sugar and 2 teaspoons yeast. (one small packet of dried yeast should do the trick)

Jo says to put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.   Heat the milk and water together until it is lukewarm and stir in the melted butter.  Stir until the dough comes together.  Knead by hand for 10 -12 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough.  

Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly oiled bowl; cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. 

Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 1 minute. Mould into a sausage shape and place into the loaf tin, cover with oiled cling film and let rise for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size. 

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.  Jo says to gently brush the top of the loaf with a beaten egg yolk... I didn't. I am sure my bread would have looked prettier if I had.  

Bake for about 30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.  

Cool the loaf in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.   Thus ends the recipe.  

The verdict:  this was a very easy dough to work.  I think my loaf tin was a bit larger than Jo suggested but it made a lovely loaf of bread.  When I sliced it, the crumb was even and fine textured and it tasted very good.  I am very pleased with this first recipe.... bring on the Custard Creams!