Long Life White Bread

Baking one’s own bread used to be the norm, but now, this traditional South African staple, has become a weekend treat. By adding milk and Vitamin C, the bread stays fresher for longer.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 7 cups (1 kg) white bread flour
  • 2 T (30 ml) sugar
  • 1 T (15 ml) salt
  • 10 g packet instant dry yeast
  • 2 Vitamin C tablets, crushed
  • 1½ cups (375 ml) hot water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) full cream milk
  • 2 T (30 ml) canola oil
Method

In a big mixing bowl measure the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Toss together with your fingers. Dissolve crushed Vitamin C tablets in the water. Add milk to the water to make it lukewarm because of the Vitamin C, the milk will get a slightly curdled look. Add it to the flour mixture. Bring flour mixture together with one hand and knead to form a soft pliable dough. If necessary, add a little more water or flour depending on consistency. Best to knead on a well floured work surface.

Add the canola oil to the mixing bowl and turn the dough ball in it. Leave it in the mixing bowl, covered with cling film until doubled in size. On a warm day the dough can be left at room temperature. On a cold day you can make your own little incubator by putting the bowl on a cloth placed on a rack over a deep oven pan with hot water. Place the pan with bowl into a large plastic bag, knot the bag and leave to rise. Remember slow is better, it may take from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on outside temperatures.

Knead the dough once more. Butter two loaf tins 200 cm x 100 cm x 70 cm deep. Divide the dough in two. Shape into loaves by rolling the dough out 2 cm thick and then rolling it up like a Swiss roll before laying the breads in the tins, seam side down. This helps the bread to rise more evenly and they will have a better ‘dome’ shape. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 200°C. Allow breads to rise again until they reach the top of the tin.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Shake the loaves out of the tins and return them to the oven to bake, without the tins, for another 10-15 minutes to crisp the bottom crust. Place the breads on a cooling rack covered with a clean cloth to cool to room temperature.

Bread needs a hot oven for best baking results as a hot oven gives a better lift and a more airy texture. Hot humid air gives the best baking results. It is advisable to place a small dish in the oven with hot water while the bread is baking. Also spray into the oven 2 or 3 times with a fine mist of water, using a spray bottle.

Ina's Tip

Bread needs a hot oven for best baking results as a hot oven gives a better lift and a more airy texture. Hot humid air gives the best baking results. It is advisable to place a small dish in the oven with hot water while the bread is baking. Also spray into the oven 2 or 3 times with a fine mist of water, using a spray bottle.

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