About this recipe:I have made this loaf many a time and it has never failed me! I even made it with an after school club and their mini loaves all came out brilliant! I have tried a few variations which I've added to the method section. Have a try and let me know what you think :)
Put the flour in the mixing bowl and add the sugar and salt. Add the margarine and rub into the flour using your finger tips. Add the dried yeast and stir into the flour mix.
Add all the water at once to the flour mix and stir together using the wooden spoon. (At this point you can add 30 to 50ml of sauce to the jug before measuring the water. I have used tomato sauce to make a tomato and herb loaf and more recently sweet onion relish to make a sweet onion loaf - both VERY yummy!)
Use your hands as the dough gets tough and when it leaves the sides of the bowl clean (add a little more flour if it is too sticky), put the dough onto a floured surface.
The dough will feel tight and lumpy and you must 'knead' it to make it smooth and stretchy. Push your hands into the dough, gather it back into a ball, turn it slightly and then repeat. Do this for about 5 minutes until the dough feels smooth.
Cover the dough with oiled cling film to stop it drying out and then put the tray in a warm place for at least 30 minutes so that the yeast can work and make the dough rise. (I usually put it on the top of the cooker while the oven is heating up)
Knead the dough again for about a minute then shape it into your own design. Place on a baking tray, cover the shape with oiled cling film again and leave for at least 15 minutes. Remove the cling film.
Bake the loaf in the centre of the oven until it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath, 20 to 25 minutes. Put the loaf on a wire rack to cool and then tuck in!
You can also split this dough into smaller lumps and make different shapes or rolls before resting the second time.