The first loaf of bread that you let your friends eat.
Hello! My name is The Goodbaker and I’m going to be having a weekly post on the Born to Buy blog. I will be blogging about all things cooking, that’s anything from succulent pulled pork to buttery melt-in-your-mouth brioche. But to keep things simple I want to firstly share with you the most basic recipe every good baker needs in their arsenal, it’s that perfect simple white loaf.
Now I know a lot of people have never made bread, some people even look at me sideways and sneer “I’ve got a bread maker” then proceed to nervously laugh at their own inability to cook even the most simplest of baked goods. One thing that will become clear from my weekly blog posts, is that we will cover simple food, but done really well. None of this nonsense de constructed dessert crap or some complicated bullshit, we will be doing the simplest things the best way possible.
The ingredients are as follows; as pictured above.
500g Strong White Flour
12g Loose/Dry Yeast
12g Non Iodized Sea Salt
Any flavourless oil for the bowl
See how simple that is? Bread is just these four basic everyday ingredients that every household has.
Now! This is the important part....
- Your white flour needs to be good, the Coles/Woolworths brand is not going to work, that flour is generally bleached or of very low quality for bread making, and if you're using such few ingredients it is best to have the highest quality you can afford.
- Your water should be filtered and about 30-37 degrees Celsius.
- The salt should never need Iodized (if you can afford the pink Himalayan salt I could not recommend it enough as the flavour it imparts is amazing).
- Your yeast should be loose and kept in the fridge, and in a container that you can measure out the amount you need. A lot of people will have 7g sachets in their cupboards, generally they will be expired. Your yeast is what makes the bread grow, it also effects flavour as well to some extent.
When you see these TV Chefs talk about “good produce” and how much it effects your dish well that could never be clearer when it comes to bread making. There is nowhere to hide with bread. Never follow a recipe that uses cups as a measurement especially when it comes to bread, you need to be precise.
Measure your mixing bowl with the 500g of Flour, then add your 12g of Yeast. IMPORTANT: You must then mix the yeast into your flour. Then add the Sea Salt. Mix all the dry ingredients together. (if you pour your salt directly onto the yeast, the yeast will die. Remember its alive!)
There are two options for reaching the right temp with your water, other than using a thermometer. Boil a kettle pour in 100ml of Water, then add 270ml of cold water. The other method is to turn your hot water on and use the hot water when you put your finger in the water, it kind of just feels the same temp as your body, not too hot or cold. Add all the water
After adding the water mix the ingredients together until they form a mass (should take 30 seconds) Then leave it for 20 minutes to absorb the water, this helps release the gluten.
After the mass of dough has had time to absorb, you knead.
IMPORTANT: If you have a stand mixer, put it on low/medium for 6 minutes that should be enough. I have my Kitchen Aid on “4” for 6 minutes.
If you’re using your hands simply use the heel of your palm and knead for 10 minutes.
Cover your bowl in oil, place your dough in and cover with glad wrap.
Allow it to rise until it is just slightly over double its size. Then “punch it down” that means to kick all the air out of the dough. Wait 10 minutes. Have the glad wrap over the dough while you wait for it to relax.
Shape the dough. With this amount of dough, you can use two small loaf tins, or you can use your hands to shape two free-form loaves. Place the free form dough on a baking tray covered in baking paper. And preheat your oven to 225 degree Celsius.
When the dough has risen to double its shaped size, spray with water and cover with semolina, sesame seeds or you can dust it lightly with flour, (as you can see in the picture below I chose sesame seeds). Then gently using a sharp knife, score the top in a traditional fashion. Cook for 27-32 minutes. The time will depend on your oven. Leave it in longer if you love a crunchy crust.
|The finished fresh loaf|
So as you can see making bread is “easy” but also complicated at the same time. I find the bread making process to be soothing and calming if I am ever stressed or anxious.
In 2015 we never really create anything any more, its always work, home, internet, television and take away. Its so enriching and satisfying to be able to say you made something from scratch, also you know 100% what went into your bread and know that its good for you and your loved ones.
I would love to see pictures of your simple basic white bread, also any troubleshooting or queries you may have.