The trials and tribulations of homemade bread

This weekend I decided that I really needed to make bread from scratch using fresh yeast. On Saturday morning, Michael and I started our bread making. Our first attempt was  a whole wheat bread and it was not our greatest success to date. Initially we didn’t incorporate enough water into the mixture and, as a result, the gloopy mixture sat in the tin, as flat as a pancake, and didn’t rise one millimetre. We took the mixture out of the tin and added additional tepid water. This necessitated a re-kneading of the dough. I don’t know if you have ever tried to knead dough but it is jolly hard work. This time around, the dough rose beautifully and we baked it in the over for 30 minutes on 230 degrees Celsius. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite long enough and so the bread wasn’t quite cooked in the middle and was a bit doughy.

We were not going to be defeated by bread. So this morning at 6.15am, there we were in the kitchen again starting on our second attempt. This time we made white bread. I followed a much more complicated bread making methodology [I researched this on Google as I was not going to lose to bread].

Step 1: We added one and a half kilograms of white bread flour to the bowl together with four level teaspoons of salt. In a separate small bowl we mixed 30 grams of fresh yeast with 250 ml (1 cup) of tepid water and 1 level teaspoon of sugar. We poured the yeast mixture into a hole in the flour and set it aside in front of the heater for 20 minutes to sponge. Exactly 20 minutes later we retrieved the bowl and happily, the yeast has gone frothy and grown to twice its size as planned. Woohoo!

Step 2: We added another 500 ml (2 cups) of tepid water and kneaded the dough for 10 minutes. My goodness, this was hard work. My poor arms and hands are still tired. We covered the bowl with a plastic wrap and set it back in front of the heater to double in size. This took one hour.

Step 3: The dough rose beautifully and we took it back into the kitchen and knocked it back and re-kneaded it. I separated it into two parts of roughly one third and two thirds and put the dough into two oiled tins. One was much larger than the other hence the unequal splitting of the dough. We covered the tins with more plastic wrap and put them back in front of the heater for a further 30 minutes. The dough had again doubled its size and looked fat and puffy. Into the pre-heated oven went the break to back at 230 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes. We then reduced the heat to 190 degrees Celsius and baked it for a further 40 minutes.

Step 4: We removed the bread from the oven and turned it out onto a clean tea towel. We wrapped the bread in the tea towel and left it to cool down.

It looked and smelled delicious.


We held on for a full twenty minutes before cutting the bread and tasting it. It was fantastic, a really yummy bread especially dripping with butter.


The Hamstah Dudes from Shey’s blog popped over for a nibble. We left them blissfully tucking in ….


Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series and Robbie Cheadle is the author of Silly Willy goes to Cape Town (coming soon)




56 thoughts on “The trials and tribulations of homemade bread

      1. I kid you not… I used to make fresh bread daily. I loved it. I even started delving into making homemade tortillas and flatbreads when I found out that I am gluten intolerant. No matter… I always love the smell of fresh bread (even if I can’t eat it) 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wonderful, Sumyanna. I also am a bit gluten intolerant so I can’t overdue the bread either. I just have nibbles of it. I have bought a book called the Bread Bible which has lots of recipes for different breads from around the world. I am planning to try out a few.


  1. I love making bread from scratch. I don’t do it these days with only me to eat it…because I would 🙂 Sweet bread dough was always my sons’ favourite…used for Chelsea Buns and Devonshire Splits .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a sourdough starter going for about six months and for a while was quite happy with the bread I produced. I also tried making proper bread with yeast, but wasn’t impressed (too dry and cotton-woolly). However, then I tried ‘quick-bread’ (with soda) – from start to finished loaf, 30mins. Never looked back.

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    1. Michael said to me when the first bread was less than perfect, “Well Mom, it’s your first time, nobody gets it completely right the first time round.” Maybe you should try again – this bread is really so nice. I also make Irish soda bread – yum!

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      1. Such a wonderful process isn’t it. We’ve just been using different recipes from the internet and enjoy tweaking them with things we like. We’ve learned not to knead the bread too much which is what made is like shoe leather, lol. We liked your recipe so it will be the one we use next.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tandy, I started off using the mixer for the kneading of the brown bread. When it didn’t come out as well as I had hoped, I resorted to kneading by hand. Next time thought, back to the mixer for sure.


  3. Hi Robbie. I found the beer bread recipe. It’s very straightforward. Mix one small bag of self-raising flour with 340 ml beer (the old ‘dumpie’) and 1 scant teaspoon of salt, until a smooth dough is formed. Put this into a greased and floured loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven preheated to 180 degrees for 1 hour. You can add a teaspoon of mustard and the same of dried herbs for a more savoury flavour or even a cup of grated cheese. Happy bread making!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Robbie. The beer bread can also be baked in the hot coals of a braai. You will need to cover the loaf tin with another tin and seal the join and heap coals on top. It will also take about an hour to cook if the braai is at its glowing red coal stage. My mom and dad used to take my sister and I camping in the Berg a lot when we were kids and they used to dig a fairly deep hole in the sand, half fill it with hot coals, place the bread tin(s) on top and cover these with more coals. This method produced the best tasting bread!

        Liked by 1 person

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