Freshly-baked bread is one of life’s little food luxuries

Home-made poppy seed loaf
Home-made poppy seed loaf
Chetna Makan

Food and drink: Bake-Off star Chetna Makan talks about the tasty world of Indian food

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I hope your chocolate mousse went down a treat last week.

It’s so indulgent and I defy anyone not to enjoy a good spoonful of chocolate mousse.

This week, I will be sharing a recipe that we use in the restaurant every day and is one we are very proud of. It’s fresh, home-made bread with some nice salted butter. There are few luxuries in life, but this is definitely one of them.

When you think of bread, you think of the freshly-baked aroma that wafts through the kitchen and into the rest of your house. There’s the crunch of the crust as you break open a roll and then the butter just disappearing and melting into the pockets of air and soft dough.

Bread has come a long way through history. 

It has been around for a long, long time - there is evidence of bread in a primitive form around 30,000 years ago.

It has stayed with us ever since and become part of our everyday lives.

So much so that even metaphors such as ‘putting bread on the table’ and ‘the best thing since sliced bread’ have become part of our vocabulary.

The most important part of bread to me is, of course, the cooking side of it, as there are so many types of bread.

There are lots of different ingredients you can add to give it different flavours, textures – and in so many different ways.

You can use the bread for your sandwiches, toast it and you can even use it to feed the ducks when it has gone stale!

Kevin Bingham is the chef patron of Restaurant 27 in Southsea. Call (023) 9287 6272.

HOME-MADE POPPY SEED LOAF

Equipment:

Wire rack

Loaf tin

Mixing bowl

Cling film

Pastry brush/paintbrush

Scales

Jug

Ingredients:

500g strong flour

10g yeast (wet yeast from a good baker or dry yeast is fine)

10g salt

10g milk powder

30g butter

250g water (warm)

15g poppy seeds

One beaten egg yolk

Method:

Put the flour, salt and milk powder into the mixing bowl and then rub the butter in until it disappears. Add the yeast and the poppy seeds and rub until completely mixed in.

Add the water and mix thoroughly to form a wet dough. Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a work surface. Roll up your sleeves and knead the dough for a good 10 minutes, pulling and stretching it, which will work the gluten and form pockets of air.

Put the kneaded dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with cling film, and leave at room temperature for two hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Then, take the dough out of the bowl and knock back until original size. Once back to original size place the dough in your loaf tin (it should half fill it).

Cover with cling film and leave to double in size again. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to gas mark six and once doubled, uncover and gently brush egg yolk on the top.

Place the tin in the oven on the middle shelf and bake for 35-40 minutes, adjusting the heat accordingly to get a nice dark crust on the loaf. Once cooked, tip the loaf out on to a wire rack and tap the bottom to make sure it sounds hollow and leave for 30 minutes. Shelf life is 24 hours.