If you're bored on a day off and there's nothing on TV that you haven't seen before other than Nigerian soap operas (we've all been there), why not have a go at baking your own bread? It truly is one of life's great pleasures - I'd put it right up there with pressing the button at the zebra crossing so that the cars all have to stop and then just walking off.
Home-made bread is a thing of beauty, and it provides a great opportunity to experiment with different flavours, such as this cheesy monstrosity. Nice crunchy crust and soft moist centre - job done. Best enjoyed in nice thick slices with loads of butter while it's still warm.
- 650g strong white bread flour
- Pinch of salt (not too much)
- 1 tsp sugar
- About 300g extra mature cheddar, grated
- 1 tsp English mustard
- 7g packet of dried yeast
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Jug of warm water
- Mix your dry ingredients and mustard together in the biggest bowl you've got (sieve the flour in). Create a well in the centre and add a little water. Mix it in with your hands. Keep doing this until you've got a big ball of dough. If it's really too wet then add a little more flour, but don't go too crazy as a dry dough is a crap dough. Knead it in the bowl using your palm heel for about 10 minutes (this avoids the need to make a load more mess on your worktop), really stretching it out, then make some slashes in the top (such as my awesome pentagram pattern above), cover the bowl with cling film and leave it in a warm place for about an hour so that it can rise.
- Preheat your oven to 220 degrees. When you're happy with the size of your dough, put it on a baking tray in the oven with a pan full of water on the shelf below - this will keep the bread moist in the middle. After about half an hour, your bread should be ready - test it by tapping the bottom to see if it sounds hollow.
- Let it cool down for about fifteen minutes before you dive in.