Tag Archives: bread

Basic White Bread


Basic White Bread
I have always enjoyed making (and eating!) bread, but my repertoire has been fairly limited. Lately I have been experimenting with all sorts of recipes. I have had some great successes and have had some impressive failures. The thing about bread making is that if your dough is too tough you can end up with a rock. It can also be very hard to work out what exactly goes wrong with a dud bread. You try a recipe that clearly works for someone else, but you just can’t make it do the right thing for you. It can be very frustrating!

So when you find a good simple reliable recipe that works for you, hang onto it!!

This recipe is a great starting point. I have made it many many times and it always works. It makes a medium density white loaf with beautifully crunchy crusts.


• 2 T polenta
• 800 g bread flour
• 15 g instant yeast
• 2 t salt
• 2 T sugar
• 600 ml warm water

Preheat oven to 50C for rising the dough. Lightly oil 2 loaf pans, and dust each with 1 T polenta.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Pour in water and mix to a stiff dough. Place into a large oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.

Lightly knead dough until it feels smooth and slightly elastic. This dough can be kneaded gently, pushing down with the heel of your palm and then folding the dough back onto itself. You want this dough to remain light and soft, so it doesn’t need too much pummelling and prodding.

Place each loaf into a pan and dust with flour. Using a sharp knife cut 3 slashes into each loaf. Place back in oven, uncovered, to rise for 45 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn oven temperature up to 200C, returning the pans to the oven when the correct temperature has been reached. Bake until loaf tops are golden and they sound hollow when you tap them.

Date Loaf


My grandmother stopped working when she got married.  She lived in an era when most men believed it was their job to be The Provider and the woman’s role was to manage the home.  It was a shame really because she was an incredibly smart woman who had begun a highly promising career.  So anyway , she moved into her new home and diverted her boundless energies into being the best of the best home makers.  Ultimately this led to a level of domestic obsession that has become legend, but those are tales for another day.

Annie was up early each day, and she began most mornings in the kitchen whipping up some essential meal or treat.  Friends would often pop in around breakfast time for a morning coffee.  So it was a good idea to have a freshly baked loaf of something scrumptious to hand…

This date loaf is dense and filling and absolutely lovely.  Like most of my favourite recipes it is also easy to make. The recipe calls for 1 cup of nuts (I think pecans work best) but these days I just put a couple of nuts on the top because the sprogs don’t like cooked nuts.


  • 1 1/2 c dates
  • 1 1/2 c boiling water
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c wholemeal flour
  • 1 3/4 c plain flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cream of tartar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 c nuts (optional)

Cut dates, pour boiling water over. Add butter, sugar and salt and mix well. Once cool, add egg, vanilla, flours, cinnamon, soda and cream of tartar. Add nuts if using. Bake in large load pan lined with baking powder for about an hour at 175C.