Regular Times columnist Arlene Thompson, of Carrickfergus Cookery School, at Carrick YMCA, this week tells readers how to home bake fresh bread.
White cob bread
500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
2 level tsp salt
7g sachet fast-action yeast
3 tbsp olive oil
300ml tepid water (not hot)
1. Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add the oil and water, and mix well.
If the dough seems a little stiff, add 1-2 tbsp water, mix well then tip onto a lightly floured work surface
and knead for 10 minutes.
Once the dough is satin-smooth, place it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with oiled cling film or a slightly damped clean tea towel.
2. Leave to rise in a warm kitchen (not near any draughts or direct heat) for 1
hour until doubled in size, or place in the fridge overnight.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Knock back the dough by giving it a quick knead, then gently mould the dough into a ball. Place it on the baking parchment to prove for a further hour until doubled in size.
3. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Dust the loaf with flour and cut a cross about 6cm long into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
Bake for 25-30 mins until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
Put an empty deep sided baking tray in base of oven whilst pre-heating, then fill with cold water once bread in.
This creates a steam bath which helps prevent a deep crust from forming.
Then, when cooling down on a rack, drape a clean dry tea towel over it.