- 1 x basic bread recipe (see below)
- 6 bananas
- 8 tablespoons good, runny honey
- 1 handful of almonds, cracked or chopped (optional)
DIRECTIONS First of all, peel your bananas then purée them in a liquidizer or food processor. The mix will be surprisingly wet. Pour it into a measuring jug, then top up with water until you have 625ml or just over 1 pint. At Stage 1 of the basic bread recipe, use this banana liquid instead of the water to flavour your bread and make it nice and chewy. Also add half the honey with the nuts to the dough at this point. Then continue through the basic recipe as normal.
At Stage 5 divide the dough into 10 balls. Then pack these next to each other in a flour-dusted baking tin where they will prove together. Before putting in the oven drizzle generously with the rest of the honey so that the top of the bread will caramelize, going nice and golden. Bake in your preheated oven at 190C/ 375F/gas 5 for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for a little while, but it’s best served still warm with lots of butter and a glass of milk for breakfast while you read the paper. Also fantastic used in bread and butter pudding or simply heated up with a bit of ice cream.
BASIC BREAD RECIPE
- 2 lbs strong bread flour
- 1 pint tepid water
- 1 oz fresh yeast or 3 - 1/4 oz packets dried yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 level tablespoons sea salt
- Extra flour for dusting
DIRECTIONS Stage 1: Making a Well Pile the flour on to a clean surface and make a large well in the centre. Pour half your water into the well, then add your yeast, sugar and salt and stir with a fork.
Stage 2: Getting It Together Slowly, but confidently, bring in the flour from the inside of the well. (You don’t want to break the walls of the well, or the water will go everywhere.) Continue to bring the flour in to the centre until you get a stodgy, porridgey consistency - then add the remaining water. Continue to mix until it’s stodgy again, then you can be more aggressive, bringing in all the flour, making the mix less sticky. Flour your hands and pat and push the dough together with all the remaining flour. (Certain flours need a little more or less water, so feel free to adjust.)
Stage 3: Kneading! This is where you get stuck in. With a bit of elbow grease, simply push, fold, slap and roll the dough around, over and over, for 4 or 5 minutes until you have a silky and elastic dough.
Stage 4: First Proof Flour the top of your dough. Put it in a bowl, cover with clingfilm, and allow it to prove for about half an hour until doubled in size — ideally in a warm, moist, draught-free place. This will improve the flavour and texture of your dough and it’s always exciting to know that the old yeast has kicked into action.
Stage 5: Second Proof, Flavouring and Shaping Once the dough has doubled in size, knock the air out for 30 seconds by bashing it and squashing it. You can now shape it or flavour it as required — folded, filled, tray-baked, whatever — and leave it to prove for a second time for 30 minutes to an hour until it has doubled in size once more. This is the most important part, as the second prove will give it the air that finally ends up being cooked into your bread, giving you the really light, soft texture that we all love in fresh bread. So remember - don’t fiddle with it, just let it do its thing.
Stage 6: Cooking Your Bread Very gently place your bread dough on to a flour-dusted baking tray and into a preheated oven. Don’t slam the door or you’ll lose the air that you need. Bake according to the time and temperature given with your chosen recipe. You can tell if it’s cooked by tapping its bottom — if it sounds hollow it’s done, if it doesn’t then pop it back in for a little longer. Once cooked, place on a rack and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes — fandabidozi. Feel free to freeze any leftover bread.