I have been making this bread for a long time and it is so delicious. I usually do honey and oat but since Kieron is weaning now and loves bread, I have had to start substituting the honey for sugar. I actually prefer it with the honey but Kieron is only 7 months and babies under 12 months are not allowed honey, even cooked, due to the risk of botulism. I'll share both options in the recipe, just in case you're in the same position as me. I have used this recipe for years so I can't remember where I originally found it, but I can tell you that it has turned out perfectly every single time I have made it. It is not at all crumbly like some homemade breads, it slices really well and it tastes so nice. The kids all love it and they are very picky so I take that as a big win!
The Best Homemade Bread in the World (makes 2 x loaves)
- 1tbsp active dry yeast
- 1tsp sugar
- 470ml water (235ml boiling mixed with 235ml cold)
- 80g honey (or 4tbsps sugar)
- 1tsp salt
- 4tbsps olive oil
- 50g porridge oats
- 300g plain flour
- 600-700g strong bread flour
Mix the yeast, sugar and water together in a large bowl and leave for 10 minutes to activate. I like to use my biggest bowl so I can do my kneading and rising all in the same bowl to save on washing up afterwards. When the yeast has bubbled, add the honey or sugar, salt and olive oil. Mix well to combine then add the porridge oats, plain flour and enough of the bread flour to form a soft but still ever so slightly sticky dough. Make sure you don't add too much flour or you will find that you end up with a dense bread. I usually use close to 650g for mine, but you may need slightly less or slightly more.
Knead the bread inside the bowl. My daughter loves to help me with this bit. I twist it, pull it and fold it and then she presses it back into a flat ball. It keeps her happy and she is more likely to eat the bread because she made it. Win win! When the dough is nice and smooth, form it into a ball. Coat it in oil, then leave it in the bowl to rise. I cover mine with cling film then leave it somewhere warm for about a hour, until it has doubled in size.
When the dough has risen, cut it into two equal pieces. Knead each piece gently for a few minutes then place either on a greased baking tray or in a greased loaf tin. I have made bread both ways and honestly there is not much difference between bread made in a proper loaf tin and bread just cooked in a ball on a tray. The only difference is obviously the shape of the cooked bread. The loaf tin gives more sandwich looking, square bread whereas the tray gives flatter, longer bread. Whichever option you choose, cover again with cling film and leave until it has doubled.
Preheat the oven to 180C/GM4. If cooking the bread on a tray in a ball, I like to cut a cross in the top, immediately before putting it in the oven to cook. I have never bothered cutting the loaf tin bread. Cook for approx 40 minutes, or until the middle of the loaf reaches 85C/185F and the base of the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
Leave to cool completely before slicing, then enjoy!