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Bread recipe: how to make bread, what type of flour you need for a loaf, sourdough starter and naan - and substitute ingredients

Published: April 10, 2020

With the UK currently on lockdown, many people have been trying their hand at home baking as a means to keep themselves occupied while stuck indoors.

Bread and cakes are among the most popular choices when baking at home - so much so that there has been a shortage of flour on supermarket shelves in recent weeks.

If you are keen to don your apron and enjoy some baking during lockdown, here’s how to make bread - and all the ingredients you’ll need.

What ingredients do you need to make bread?

To make a basic white or brown loaf, you will need the following ingredients:

- Yeast

- Butter, margarine, or oil

- Flour 

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- Salt

- Water

What kind of flour can I use to make bread?

The type of flour used to make bread will vary depending on the type of loaf you want to make, but common options include strong white bread flour, all-purpose flour, and whole wheat flour.

Bread or all purpose flour is best for baking normal bread, while self-raising flour is better for ‘quick breads’.

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Quick breads, such as Irish soda bread, can be made with self-raising flour as they do not require yeast, which need time and fermentation to make the dough rise.

If you are using self-raising flour, choose a quick bread recipe that doesn’t need yeast.

Self-raising flour cannot be used as a substitute for yeast when making normal yeast bread. A good substitute for self-raising flour is using a combination of cake flour, baking soda and salt.

Where can I buy flour?

A rise in the amount of people who are home baking has contributed to a shortage of flour in supermarkets.

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Mills have not had enough capacity to pack enough flour into bags for supermarkets due to such high demand.

If you are struggling to track down any flour in the supermarkets, there are some retailers online that still have some stock.

Healthy Supplies has a wide range of options, including wheat, corn, rice, buckwheat and pasta flour.

Buy Wholefoods Online also has stock available, with bread flour, gluten free flour, nut and specialist flour all on offer.

Shoppers could also pick up a variety of flour from Amazon, Brakes, and Sous Chef.  

How do I make my own bread?

Making a standard white or brown loaf of bread is simple to do, and doesn’t require too much time to make.

Simply mix together your flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl.

Once mixed, add in the fat - this could be butter, margarine, or oil - and some water, and mix it all together well.

If your dough feels a touch stiff, add an extra one or two tablespoons of water.

When you have combined all your ingredients, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for around 10 minutes, and then place into a lightly greased bowl

Wait for an hour until the dough has doubled in size, and then knead again and prove for a further hour before baking.

BBC Good Food has a simple recipe to follow here.

What if I don’t have all the ingredients?

If you don’t have all of the ingredients you need to make a standard loaf of bread, there are some workarounds you can try and still make a tasty bake.

One way of getting around a lack of yeast is to make your own sourdough starter. Though this will require some patience, you’ll be able to continue growing it and using it to bake with for a long time.

The BBC has a simple recipe here. It recommends using strong white bread flour, although some other recipes use all-purpose flour instead.

Irish soda bread is another alternative if you don’t have yeast, and makes use of baking soda in its place.

It is a little more dense than bread made with yeast, but this recipe requires only four ingredients and is very easy to make.

If you are lacking both yeast and self-raising flour, naan bread is a good option to try instead as it can be easily made with just a few ingredients.

Try this non-yeast recipe here.

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