Contrary to what many people think baking your own bread is easy although a little time consuming, it's also very rewarding as you can't beat the quality of a homemade loaf, the smell of it as it bakes and the taste.
Because I bake on such a regular basis I like to vary the type of bread we eat and this is one of my personal favourites. Hope you enjoy it too.
This bread is delicious as it is or toasted and spread with butter, especially if you add the sultanas.
Malted white loaf
20g fresh yeast
500g strong white flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons malt extract (you can find it in most health food shops)
320ml water, lukewarm
150g sultanas (optional)
Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water.
Use a kitchen stand mixer with a dough hook to make the dough as follows.
Pour the flour into the mixer bowl, add the salt around the side and open a well in the middle. Add the sugar, malt extract and the yeast mixture.
Mix on the lowest speed until you have a kneadable dough. Tip it onto your work surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, you may need to add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky but be careful not to add too much.
Grease the bowl with a little olive oil (no need to clean it), form a ball with the dough and put it in the bowl to prove, cover with clingfilm and allow to prove until doubled in volume.
Knock the dough back, knead for a few seconds and then add the sultanas if using. Shape the loaf and place in a loaf tin lined with baking paper to prove a 2nd time. Again cover with clingfilm and allow to prove for 30-40 minutes until almost doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220 ºC / gas mark 7 and bake the loaf for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to about 190 - 200 ºC and bake for 25-30 minutes more.
To check if the bread is ready remove it from the tin and tap the bottom, if it sounds hollow it's ready.