A classic, crusty loaf recipe is something that everyone needs in their life… It’s pretty easy to make, so cheap, and it incredibly satisfying – not to mention the fact that your house will smell amazing after baking it! Another interesting feature of homemade bread is that you can make it with very few, natural ingredients; which when you compare to a standard shop-bought sliced loaf it is obviously much better for you.
For example, a standard sliced loaf contains:
- Wheat Flour (with added Calcium, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin),
- Soya Flour,
- Emulsifiers: E471, E472e,
- Preservative: E282,
- Flour Treatment
- Agent: Ascorbic Acid.
In comparison, my delicious homemade loaf contains the following ingredients:
- 500g strong, white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
- 3 tsp caster sugar
- 7g fast-action dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 250 – 300ml just warm water
- 50ml olive oil
Place the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into a large bowl and give it a stir to combine.
Using one hand to mix and the other to pour, slowly add 250ml of the water and all of the oil. If the dough looks a little dry, add the small amounts of the remaining water until the dough comes together.
Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until it’s soft and elastic.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour (until doubled in size).
Lightly grease a medium sized loaf tin (approx. 11cm x 21cm x 7cm).
Punch the dough down and knead a further 3 minutes. Remove the dough and place it evenly into the tin. Put the tin into two clean plastic bags so that it is covered and has space at the top to rise, and place in a warm place for 45 minutes or until risen to the top of the tin.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cut small slashers into the bread with a sharp knife and dust with extra flour. Bake 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow sounding when lightly tapped.
Turn bread out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool.
Now let’s turn this bread into the ultimate cheese on toast…..
If you have enjoyed a freshly baked loaf out the oven before you will know that all you actually need to enjoy it is a good spreading of proper, salted butter (none of these healthy alternatives please)! However, if you want to really do this loaf justice then the perfect combo is with cheese.
We went to a local Farmer Market a couple of weeks ago (Ripley – if you live in the Surrey area it’s definitely worth a visit), and tasted the most delicious cheese. Bookham and Harrison are a Sussex Farm that are famous in the area for their delicious ‘Cow to Wow’ cheese. In particular, we loved their award-winning Sussex Charmer, which is a cross between traditional farmhouse cheddar and parmesan, so is perfect for the strong cheese lover! We were also told that this made “The Best Cheese on Toast in the World”, and any claim like that must be put to the test!
I have to say that I was really impressed, and the only thing that makes this cheese on toast better is pairing it with some awesome toppings! This meal is officially my ultimate comfort, and would probably form part of my last supper (because my last supper would be a feast with at least 20 courses)!
All of these combinations use Bookham & Harrison’s Sussex Charmer Cheese. I topped one simply with some Worcestershire Sauce and another I added some blue cheese to the mix. For an ultimate cheese on toast recipe, you may need to make a little extra effort, but oh my is it worth it!!….
Sussex Charmer & Caramelised Onions
- 2 red onions – finely sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the butter and oil in a frying pan until bubbling. Add the onions and sweat until soft before adding the balsamic and the sugar. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until lovely and sticky and then season with salt and pepper
Pepperoni Pizza Toast
- 1 large garlic clove – peeled and finely chopped
- 1 splash olive oil
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 pinch sugar
- 1 pinch oregano
- Salt and pepper
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the garlic for 1 minute (being careful it doesn’t burn. Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes until thickened.
When you’re ready to load up, spread 1-2 tbsp of the sauce on a slice of toast, top with the cheese and then tear up some pepperoni to finish. Grill until bubbling and golden.