In the new issue of Image Interiors & Living, we tour the gorgeously rustic Castlepollard home of designer Helen James, and get an exclusive look at the beautiful new collection of homewares she has created for Dunnes Stores.
During the shoot, the smell of freshly baked bread wafted through the house, and before long we were tearing into chunks of it, perfectly crisp on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. Helen was quick to inform us that it was an extremely easy recipe. “If you’re afraid of yeasted bread, then this is the recipe for you,” she enthused. “It’s so easy, with only 15 minutes’ preparation time.” Of course, we begged her for the recipe, and here it is.
You will need to leave your dough to rest for a long time, but this will add to the flavour complexity of your delicious home-baked loaf.
YOU WILL NEED
* 400g (3 cups) bread flour * 110g (1 cup) rye flour * 1 tsp active dry yeast * 1 tbsp sea salt * 360g (1½ cups) tepid water
1 In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add water and mix together with your hand or a utensil for about 45 seconds. You should have a very wet and sticky dough. If it feels a little dry, add more water (up to another half cup). It will look lumpy, but don’t worry – the magic has yet to happen. 2 Cover the bowl and let it sit for at least 6 hours at room temperature (you can leave it for up to 18 hours). The longer you leave it, the better your bread will taste. 3 After your preferred amount of time, lightly oil the inside of a pot and set aside. Generously flour your work surface and turn the dough out using a spatula to get all of the sticky dough out in one piece. 4 Lift the edges of your dough and pull into the centre, gently pressing it into the middle. Turn your dough after each lift, working your way around the whole dough. You are giving your bread structure, but be careful not to incorporate flour from the work surface into your dough: this will make it tough. 5 When you have turned all of the edges in, you should have a ball shape. Lift the dough off the surface using a bread scraper or your hands and invert it into the oiled pot, so the seams are on the bottom of the pan. Leave for its final rest uncovered for 1 hour. 6 Half an hour before the hour is up, turn your oven on to full heat, around around 250°C (475°F). 7 After the final rest, slash the top of the dough with a very sharp knife. Work quickly and decisively – this will give your bread room to spring up once you place it in the oven. Put the lid on the pot and place in the centre of the oven for 30 mins. Remove the lid and continue baking in the pot for a further 15-30 mins. Make sure your bread is baked well but not burnt; times will vary depending on your oven. When you are satisfied with the colour of your bread, remove it from the oven, taking care with the very hot pot. 8 Turn it out to cool on a wire rack. You should hear your bread “singing”, a quick crackling sound that is the crust shrinking and steam escaping – it’s music to your bread-making ears!
Tip: Don’t cut into your loaf until it has completely cooled, as it will still be cooking for up to an hour after it leaves the oven. When cooled, slice and enjoy because YOU made that amazing loaf of bread.
Photography by Ailbhe O’Donnell.