What is your weakness? Which foods do you find hard to resist? I have a long list, but definitely near the top is bread. The smell of fresh bread as I walk past the bakery section of my local supermarket tests my resistance every time. Immediately I start thinking about a slice of ciabatta with butter, or passion fruit curd, or a piece of a baguette with Camembert or a spread of paté and I start walking a little slower, lingering as I take deep breaths that bring warm memories. It may seem dramatic but good bread has very serious effects.
I don’t buy regular sliced bread because I consider it to be a filler and not worth the calories, however I will treat myself to the warm bread they serve before your meal at a nice restaurant. The type of bread where your nose detects it before the waiter has finished placing the basket on your table, the crust has a crunch that isn’t hard enough to cut your gums and the inside has the perfect bounce. Using bread as an example, I don’t believe in deprivation of anything in your diet just make sure when you are eating the less healthier things we all enjoy that each bite is worth every calorie, for me this means eating bread when I dine out or making it myself at home so I know what’s going into it.
This recipe was personalised with the addition of thyme and garlic to the dough, feel free to replace them with your favourite flavours to make this recipe your own. I know a lot of people are still doing their best to stick to their New Year Resolutions, of which one probably includes something to do with fitness so do not think I am trying to sidetrack your efforts simply share the calories and share the fun at dinner. Cut yourself a slice the size of one of the rings from the can and give the rest away; you’ll be thanking me and my loyal helper!
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After baking for just 20 minutes, you can enjoy the rewards of your labour and waiting.
Live, Love, Eat!
- 500 g or 1 lb 2 oz unbleached strong white organic bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons dried yeast
- 30 g or 1 oz butter
- 75 ml or 2½ fl oz milk, warmed
- 225 ml or 8 fl oz warm water
- 2 tablespoons of thyme leaves (optional)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (optional)
- Baked bean cans or similar cans with top removed by a can opener (important to use cans without lips or you won’t get the bread out. Pull top cans are not suitable)
- Olive oil, for greasing
- Mix the flour, salt and dried yeast in a bowl.
- Rub the softened butter into the flour mixture with your hands until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the thyme and garlic if using.
- Mix the warm milk with the water.
- Gradually add the milk/water mixture to the flour and herb mixture and mix together with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together into a ball.
- Using floured hands, knead the dough on a clean, floured work surface for 20-25 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth. If necessary add a little more warm water to loosen the dough.
- Return the dough to the bowl and cover with cling film then set aside for 1-1½ hours in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size.
- Grease cans with the olive oil ensuring it gets in all the grooves.
- When the dough has risen, return it to a floured work surface and cut it into however many cans you are using and push down into the bottom of each. Cover each can with cling film and set aside for another hour, or until the dough has doubled in size once again.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F
- When the dough has expanded in the cans, dust with a bit of flour and put them in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden-brown and cooked through.
- Great accompaniment to my chicken liver paté.