Around this time last year we really didn't have a clue what was ahead of us on the weather front, as the 'Beast from the East' settled over our unprepared shores.

My own memory of the time was of walking (with a sledge) down to the local co-op every day in the hope of finding a loaf of bread or some bread-like substitute. Being related to dairy farmers took care of the milk shortage in the shops for us, but we were craving a starchy fix. I did think about making my own, but the thought of trailing back down to the shop on foot, as the snow was too deep to drive in, to buy yeast was too much to cope with.

So this year, I'm getting prepared, and I'm preparing you too, dear readers. Here is a basic bread recipe that only used five ingredients. And if you enjoy the process of making your own bread and want to learn more, see below for two of Scotland's finest baking schools that will de-mystify the process of baking bread, and many more delicious baked goods at home.

Baking a basic bread loaf


500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting

2 tsp salt

7g sachet fast-action yeast

3 tbsp olive oil

300ml water


Mix 500g strong white flour, two teaspoons of salt and a 7g sachet of fast-action yeast in a large bowl.

Make a well in the centre, then add three tbsp olive oil and 300ml water, and mix well. If the dough seems a little stiff, add another 1-2 tbsp water and mix well.

Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for around 10 mins.

Once the dough is satin-smooth, place it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for one hour until doubled in size or place in the fridge overnight.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Knock back the dough (punch the air out and pull the dough in on itself) then gently mould the dough into a ball.

Place it on the baking parchment to prove for a further hour until doubled in size.

Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

Dust the loaf with some extra flour and cut a cross about 6cm long into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.

Bake for 25-30 mins until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe from Good Food magazine