So this week is real bread week and I though it was a great time to tell you all about how easy it is with Rangemaster appliances to make bread at home from scratch without the need for a bread maker. Whether you have a Rangemaster Range Cooker or Rangemaster Built in collection, you can achieve great results and treat the family to some great homemade bread and have your home smell of freshly baked bread.
Generally the key stages of bread making are, the mixing, the kneading, the first prove, knocking back and shaping, the final prove and then finally the baking.
The mixing and kneading can either be done by hand or in a food mixer, you want the dough to come together, and then the kneading to make the dough smooth and elastic like and for the dough to bounce back when lightly pressed. Even if I have made the bread dough in the food mixer I like to finish off the kneading by hand for a couple of minutes, just to ensure that the dough is smooth and can be shaped into a ball for the first prove.
If you have a deluxe range cooker, you will have a proving drawer in the bottom of your appliance instead of a storage drawer, this is brilliant for getting the optimum temperature for proving every time. The proving drawer is one set temperature and operates by a simply push button on the range fascia to turn the proving drawer on and off. For white bread dough, the initial proving will take around 30 minutes in the proving drawer, with brown bread and heavily seeded bread dough taking a little longer.
If you have Rangemaster built in collection, depending on the models you have there are a couple of options to how you could prove and cook bread. To prove the bread dough, in a steam oven, make sure that the bowl is well cling filmed to prevent any steam getting inside the bowl, set the steam oven to steam, 40°C for 30 minutes. Alternatively if you don’t have a steam oven, you can use the warming drawer set on the cups setting for 30 minutes.
When using a Rangemaster cooker to bake bread, whether it’s a range cooker or a Built in cooker, there are a couple of function you could use, the choice is yours. You can use the Fan function, preheat the oven to 220°C and then reduce the oven to 200°C-210°C depending on the bread shape and size for about 25-30 minutes for a loaf and 15 minutes for bread rolls. An alternative cooking method for bread if you have a multi-function oven is using the conventional method, I personally like to cook bread using the conventional function, as I feel that the intense heat causes the yeast to rise and set in the early stages of the bake, giving a better bake. I would preheat my conventional oven to 240°C, place the bread on the 3rd set of runner (we at Rangemaster count the runner from the bottom up), then reduce the oven temperature to 220°C-230°C.
To check if the loaf is cooked, give it a gentle tap on the base, if it sounds hollow, it’s cooked through. If the bread still sounds doughy and dense the return to the oven for an extra 5 minutes. When the bread is cooked through I like to remove the loaf from the tin and place it back into the oven for a couple of minutes to crisp the outside of the crust and then place it on a cooling rack to cool, always remove any bread from the tin or trays to cool and use a cooling rack to let the air circulate around the bread, otherwise during cooling the condensation will cause a soggy base and crust.
See my recipe below for a pesto bread twist
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 7g fast action dried yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- Approximately 350ml lukewarm water
- 6 tbsp green pesto
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- To make the bread dough, mix the bread flour, dried yeast, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the water and stir until you get a slightly sticky dough, knead the dough on a work surface for 10-15 minutes until the dough is smooth and bounces back when pressed. Place the bread dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave the dough to prove until doubled in size, whether that is in the range cooker proving drawer or built in steam oven.
- Preheat your Rangemaster fan oven to 220°C
- Once the dough proved, gentle knock the dough back slightly. Place a sheet of greaseproof paper or bake-o-glide on the work surface and then a lightly flour it, roll the dough out to rectangle about 2-3mm thick and 50cm wide by 30cm deep, on the greaseproof paper. Spread the pesto over the rolled bread dough and sprinkle over the parmesan cheese. Starting at the front of the longer side of the dough roll the dough on itself, like a Swiss roll.
- Leaving a couple of centimetres at one end, cut the rest of the rolled bread dough in half down the centre, and then carefully plait the two strands together. Create a circle on the greaseproof or bake-o-glide, with the braided bread dough, tucking the ends together so that the bread doesn’t undo during cooking. Using the greaseproof paper lift the braided circle onto a baking sheet. Cover the baking tray loosely with oiled cling film and leave to prove again for about 10-15 minutes, until the bread bounces back when lightly pressed.
- When the second prove is complete place the bread in the preheated fan oven and reduces the temperature to 200°C. Cook the bread for 25-30 minute, until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. I like to place the bread back in the oven without the baking tray for 2-3 minutes after cooking, to ensure a crispy base, before cooling.