Being away from my boyfriend for the last 3 years has made me into a successful bread maker.

I have observed that it is not only the ingredients that I add, and the time it takes to rise that changes the end product. I have found that it also changes with the music I listen to. It sounds crazy. It is crazy perhaps, but this is what happens when you are on your own in a warm kitchen!

I time the kneading of the bread to roughly three songs worth. For this passionate process, Laura Marling and Nick Drake just do not cut it. Beyoncé on the other hand, M.I.A and maybe a little bit of Jamie Woon chucked in there too, is the perfect combo. Stretching, pounding confidence is ‘kneaded’ (waaaay! Dad joke!) to make the dough as elastic as possible. It’s not so much anger, because in my own experience, anger does not make a good loaf of bread. It’s empowerment.

Bread can go many ways and as stated above, there are so many variables that culminate in disappointment. Sometimes it does not rise properly. Other times it rises much too quickly, over-excites and over-proves and you are left with a sunken, sorry-looking loaf.

Right. Enough of the innuendos! But you get my point.

After making countless loaves of successful (and a HUGE amount of unsuccessful) bread, I have come to the conclusion that all you need is time and a little patience to nurture the perfect loaf.

Many breaddies state that you must use super-dooper organic flour and use fresh yeast to create the perfect loaf. I have tried this, and yes the flour you choose does count towards your end result. But as a student, I have made some of my best with the cheapest flour going.

I feel as if the encouragement to bake often goes along with complex, expensive ingredients, time-consuming techniques and the pressure to perform well every time! I think that all of these have an impact on why so many people are deterred from going out of their way to make their own bread. It is SO easy. It is SO much tastier. And SO much more satisfying to eat something that does not taste of the plastic it has sweated in since leaving the factory.

Time is everything. I am lucky enough to have the luxury of time on my hands so that I can make bread at any time of the day. I know that as soon as I get a proper 9-5 (fingers crossed) I will struggle to continue with this luxury of homemade bread at least two times a week. I completely understand that it must be even harder for those who have got kids and jobs and other obstacles between them and the bag of bread flour.

But maybe, once a week, on a Saturday or Sunday morning, whether you want to bond with your kitchen, or spend time with the kids, or even as a great excuse to be on your own for a little while, maybe, just maybe, I could persuade you to save the pulpy white stuff for the ducks (or bread and butter pudding) and make a loaf?

You will be rewarded with a house that smells incredible and a self-satisfied smile.

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(I wish I could eat this all over again! Photo courtesy of Jak Bennett)

Thank you for popping over to look at my blog! Any comments or suggestions to improve it would be more than welcome. I’d love to hear from you!

TBC, Rosie x

P.S

This is my bread bible. The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens. On the rare occasion that you have any of your loaf left over, he recommends making Panzanella (p.182). Hardened bread torn, seeped in olive oil and roasted. Toss with a combination of veg – red onion and ripe tomatoes are a necessity!

Also, I had a moment of inspiration after slicing up hundreds of slices of white bread for a bread and butter pudding, and realising that I didn’t have any raisins to seep up the eggy mixture. So I chopped up some peaches, put a teaspoon of cinnamon into the mixture and combined with the carefully arranged bread. I left it all to infuse overnight. It tasted absolutely delicious when cooked, but unfortunately didn’t look that appertising, so a photo was a no-go! I will however, work on it and let you know!

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