It's the first day of the school holidays and we're getting down to business with a bit of festive bread-making. What's so festive about bread, I hear you ask? Not much, really, so we go all out with Christmas tree shaped bread with pine needles snipped into the dough in the way you'd do with hedgehog bread.
The boys got stuck in while I stood well back, not wanting to get my new ASOS Christmas jumper covered in flour. And they did a fine job, even making these neat little dinner rolls to have with our soup!
We always use the same recipe - Nigel Slater's easy white loaf from Appetite. Give it a go this holiday.
1 kg white bread flour
14g instant dried yeast
700 ml water
1. Tip the flour, yeast and the salt into a big wide bowl. Pour in almost all the water and mix it to a sticky dough. Keep mixing adding a bit more flour or water until you have a dough that is soft and springy and still slightly sticky to touch.
2. Generously dust the working surface, turn the dough out on to the surface and start kneading. Knead the dough for 10 minutes or so. If you are getting tired that means you are kneading too hard. There is no need for that, just knead it nicely until it gets lighter and springy.
3. Put the dough back into bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave somewhere warm to raise. It will take about 1 hour or so.
4. Preheat the oven to the highest setting, 250C/gas mark 9.
5. Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a work surface, scraping out the dough that stuck to the bowl. Give it another short session of kneading. Shape into your rolls, place onto a floured baking sheet and dust generously with flour. Cover with a clean tea towel and let it double in size once again.
6. Place the rolls into the oven to bake for 10 minutes. In 10 minutes turn the heat down to 220C/gas mark 7 and bake for another 10 minutes or until cooked - rolls should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool on a wire rack.
Thanks to ASOS for sending me a lovely jumper.