by Lauren Bravo
For even the most hands-on of foodies, baking bread can still be a scary prospect. But it doesn’t need to be! To get you started, here are the easiest breads on the block…
As getting a good rise is often the most daunting prospect of breadmaking, try taking yeast out of the equation altogether with a bread that’s intentionally flat as a pancake. There are thousands of centuries-old variations on flatbread recipes from across the world, but they start as simple as: flour, water, a pinch of salt and a little olive oil.
Jamie’s super-quick Navajo flatbreads are a perfect place to start; fluffy-centred and hot from the griddle, they’re perfect for mopping up curries, soups, dips or even a hearty breakfast.
Legendary cookery writer Elizabeth David believed, “everyone who cooks, in however limited a way, should know how to make a loaf of soda bread.” Fans of this Irish favourite’s dense, cakey texture and nutty flavour will agree.
Using bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk as a raising agent instead of yeast also makes soda bread one of the speediest, easiest loaves around. With no need for kneading or proving it’s the perfect choice for impatient bakers, and will be ready before you can say, “pass the butter.” Spread liberally and enjoy.
Another ‘quick bread’ that’s great for rookie bakers to rustle up, cornbread is a soul food staple in southern America. Made with cornmeal and leavened with baking powder, it has a sweetness and rustic crumb structure almost like a sponge cake (who said you couldn’t have cake for dinner?), and a glorious bright yellow colour that will cheer up any table.
Pair it with heat and strong flavours, as in Jamie’s chilli cheese cornbread recipe, and let the compliments roll in.
A basic loaf
The fuss-free alternatives are all very well, but we still say nothing beats a proper crusty loaf, fresh from the oven.
So roll up your sleeves and give it a try! Follow clear, step-by-step instructions like Jamie’s basic bread recipe, allow yourself plenty of time for proving the dough in a warm, dry spot, and release any pent-up energy with some enthusiastic kneading.
There aren’t many bad days and bad moods that can’t be improved by pummelling a good dough for five minutes. And tucking into the results afterwards, of course.