… or wait 18 hours to rise, or touch with hands at all. I thought I’d discovered a new, not-so-messy bread making method, but I see that’s not the case after searching the internet. This is what worked for me, in about 2 hours. (Updated and simplified Feb 2021)

Ingredients: (see later on for different flour weights)

350g (12oz) plain flour (in this case 30% white, 70% with grain)
0.5 teaspoon salt (optional)
0.5 teaspoon sugar
1-2 teaspoons olive oil (optional, or butter etc.)
1 teaspoon dried yeast
200ml water (warmed)

Method:

  1. Mix 50ml of lukewarm water with sugar and yeast, leave for 5 mins
  2. Put flour in a baking tray or bowl, add salt, olive oil
  3. With a strong dessert spoon (or spatula), stir in the yeast mixture and most of the water.
    Work with the spoon for a few minutes, adding a little more water if required until dough is consistent and can be shaped.
  4. Place dough on a baking tray or in baking tin(s). Cover and leave in a warm place for 60-90 mins. I use a pre-warmed cooker grill compartment. The dough should have doubled in volume after this time.
  5. Bake in the centre of an oven, preheated to gas mark 6-7, for approx. 30 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack.
Flour to Water (ml) Chart (approximate)

There are so many variables in this process, including ingredients, dough resting time, oven setting etc., so some experimentation may be needed to get the desired product. Although traditional methods often have two stages (mix/rest and knead/rest), I found that just one stage produced good results, but that may not be suitable for some bread types.

I haven’t researched why kneading is required in traditional recipes, but I suppose it would at least strengthen arms, or maybe increase the demand for bread making machines.