I have great affection for Vincent’s House Bread. Not because it is the greatest loaf I ever made but because it is the FIRST loaf I ever made. Way back in 2011 during the Vincentennial year – click here for my blog post about it.
I was SO pleased with myself, haha! I think making bread is the most fun of making ANYTHING at all. It’s always a surprise when the dough rises, and it’s always so lovely when the loaves come out of the oven. Can I encourage you to have a go? Honestly, if you have never made bread before, just have a try with Vincent’s. It’s an easy recipe and you’ll be well chuffed with your loaves. Don’t worry too much about getting your water temperature exact. Your bread may take longer to rise if your water isn’t lukewarm but it’s better that your water be cooler rather than too hot. Also, I don’t worry about buttering the baking tray or sprinkling with cornmeal, but you can if you like!
Over the last couple of years I have really got into making bread and I make around 20 loaves once a month to sell at my nephew’s brewery – the Hammerton Brewery in Islington. I’ll be there with some next Saturday between 2pm and 6pm, with mustard too – all made with Hammerton beer. At the moment the taproom is only open to the public once a month.
But there is exciting news! My nephew is crowdfunding to open the taproom full time. OPPORTUNITIES FOR FREE BEER! Well, the opportunity to invest in something brilliant, in return for some beer… There are other rewards too. I’ve put my name down to be a brewer for a day. YES!
Hope I get to wear overalls like my brewing hero Daniel…
So check it out, my notoriously camera-shy nephew does a great job in the video. Get amongst it folks!
Put your money where your beer is!
Vincent Price’s House Bread
1 package active dry yeast (7g if you are in the UK)
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups sifted flour, divided use
Butter for greasing
Cornmeal for dusting
Pour 2 cups lukewarm water (around 110 degrees F / 43 degrees C) into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the ginger, salt, sugar and 2 cups of the flour and mix together well. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Then add another 3 cups flour.
On a lightly floured work surface (or in your large bowl) knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes), adding more flour if necessary. The dough should be stiff.
Cover your hands with a little softened butter and shape dough into a greased ball. Put in a large bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm, draftless place for about 1 hour, or until double in bulk.
Break the rise in the dough by punching it down, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into one long loaf or two smaller ones.
Lightly butter a baking tray and dust it with cornmeal. Place the loaf or loaves on the tray and brush the tops with cold water. With scissors make 3 or 4 diagonal slashes across the top of the loaf or loaves. Let them rise again until they double in size (about 1 hour).
While the loaves are rising preheat the oven to 450 degrees F / 230 degrees C / gas mark 8.
For a good crust put a pan of boiling water on the bottom of the oven and brush each loaf with melted butter.
Bake for 7 minutes, then reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C / gas mark 4 and bake for 35 minutes longer.
Cool the bread on a cake rack.
Here’s Vincent toasting to the success of the Hammerton Brewery crowdfunding campaign!