Easy Mug Bread
Home-made bread should be ubiquitous. It is cheaper than buying bread. It requires less effort than popping to the shops to buy bread. It is more delicious than any bought bread. And the satisfaction and smell of a freshly baked loaf brings you as close as you are ever going to get to divinity. Home-made bread can only become universal with accessibility. This recipe allows you to bake bread anywhere without any special equipment or ingredients. All you need is a mug, a bowl, a tin (or tray, dish, pot…anything) and an oven. And you can forego the bowl if you wish.
- 2 1/4 mugs plain or strong flour (they both work fine…)
- Enough salt to just coat the bottom of the mug
- 1 x 7g sachet fast-action yeast (or 1 heaped teaspoon)
- 1 full mug tepid water
1. Measure out the flour into a bowl using a dry mug. Measure the salt by just coating the bottom surface of the same mug you used to measure the flour. If your mug is curved at the bottom, add a pinch extra. Rub in the salt and then add the sachet of yeast and rub that in too.
2. Fill your mug with tepid tap water. You should dunk your fingers in and if you can’t tell whether it’s hot or cold then it’s perfect. Use one hand to mix with the dry ingredients into a rough dough. This is quite a wet dough.
3. Cover (with cling film or a damp teacloth) and leave the dough to rest for 40 minutes, or until noticeably plumper.
4. When rested, fill your mug with water and use this to dip your fingers in to stop them sticking. Slide your wet fingers underneath the dough and firmly fold it in half. Rotate the dough and fold in half again. Repeat until you have forced all the air out of the dough and it is a smaller, smooth ball.
5. Cover and rest again for an hour, or until nearly doubled in size. If, at any point you need to go out, just stick your bread in the fridge. It will slow down your 1 hour resting time to about 8–12 hours, so you can just forget about it until the morning or when you get back.
6. Once rested, it’s time to shape the dough. Generously flour a work surface and, using slightly wet fingers, scoop the dough out onto it. Now, follow the shaping guide to make a ball (watch video to see how to do this).
7. Rest (prove) for a final hour on a heavily floured surface, until doubled in size again. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 210°C/gas 6½.
8. Score the top of your bread – I recommend a single light cut if you are unsure of patterns. Bake for 40–45 minutes. You want a dark golden brown colour and a good thick crust!
Makes 1 loaf usually, but depends on your mug • Time spent in the kitchen: about 5 minutes • Time taken altogether: 3–3½hours
Extracted from Brilliant Bread by James Morton. (Ebury, £20) Photography by Andy Sewell