This morning, Maria got busy in the kitchen teaching Ma how to bake gewone plaas brood. Surely there is no fragrance more delicious than that of baking bread? Eaten still warm with a generous layer of fresh butter and a cup of tea and… oh mama, life is good!
Here’s Maria’s recipe – it’s simple enough but time and patience is needed. The results are worth the wait, trust me on this!
• 2 x 8g packets active dry yeast
• 2 cups warm water
• 6½ cups white, brown and nutty wheat flours mixed together
• 1t salt
• ⅓ cup butter, chilled and diced
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of the flour and the salt. Cut in the butter and stir in the yeast mixture. Beat in the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
3. Butter a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a large baking tray. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a large oval loaf. Place onto the prepared tray. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. When the loaf is risen, cut a 1cm-deep cross onto the top of it. Brush the top with water and bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 170°C and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the base of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool before slicing.
Makes 1 large loaf