How to make a loaf of bread
With more potential time spent at home, it’s the perfect moment to delve into a new skill you’ve always wanted to master. Embrace the art of bread making, renowned for its therapeutic benefits of kneading and the delectable flavor and texture of homemade loaves.
Venturing into bread making is not only a productive and creative endeavor, but it will also captivate your mind and reward you with a freshly baked, nutritious loaf – a delicious accomplishment you’ll savor.
Crafting your bread demands just a few simple ingredients, and the result is not only more cost-effective but also healthier than store-bought loaves, free from preservatives and additives. The entire process, from start to finish, is deeply fulfilling.
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Top Rules for Bread Making:
- Add all the liquid specified in the recipe at once. Unlike pastry making, you’ll want to incorporate the full wet volume to assess if any adjustments in water or flour are needed.
- Knead the bread for the duration stated in the recipe. This crucial step works the gluten in the dough, creating its structure, which captures the gasses produced by the yeast, causing the loaf to rise.
- Allow the dough to rise in a warm, not hot, place. Yeast thrives in warmth. Loosely cover the bowl with greased clingfilm (oil-side down) or a clean tea towel to prevent the dough from forming a crust.
- Incorporate a teaspoon of sugar with the flour to feed the yeast, accelerating gas production for a better rise.
- After the first rise, knock back the dough by punching it, eliminating larger air bubbles and redistributing the gasses, leading to an even-textured bread.
- The use of salt is vital in bread making to regulate yeast activity and prevent over proofing. It also enhances the loaf’s flavor.
- Salt strengthens gluten, preventing the formation of excessively large air bubbles, resulting in an even texture, akin to the knocking back process.
- A high volume of sugar or fat in a loaf “enriches” the dough, slowing down yeast activity. Look for a well-risen dough after the first rise.
- High oven heat is essential for baking bread, ensuring a good rise in the loaf.
- To test whether your bread is baked through, gently pick it up with an oven glove and tap the base. A hollow sound and a fairly light loaf indicate it’s done.
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Start with this Simple loaf of bread Recipe:
– 700g strong plain white flour
– 1 1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
– one tbsp salt
– 1 tsp golden caster sugar
– 450ml warm water
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Create a well in the center and add all the water. Mix thoroughly until it forms a dough.
- Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead, using alternate hands to push with the heels of your palms and pull the dough away from itself, then fold it back in. Knead until the dough feels springy and elastic – approximately 10 minutes by hand.
- Lightly grease a bowl with oil and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with lightly oiled clingfilm and leave it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size. Alternatively, let the dough rise in the fridge overnight.
- After the first rise, knock back the dough by punching it with a fist. Dust the work surface with flour and knead the dough for a few minutes. Shape it into a round.
- Prepare a baking sheet by dusting it with flour or lining it with baking parchment. Place the dough on the sheet and let it prove for 30 minutes to 1 hour, loosely covered with lightly oiled clingfilm (oil down) until visibly puffed.
- Score a cross into the surface of the dough with a sharp knife. Bake at 230°C (210°C fan) mark 8 for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200°C (180°C fan) mark 6 and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the loaf turns golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
Begin with this straightforward recipe, and as you master it, unleash your newfound skills on more elaborate variations. The possibilities are endless, so embrace the joy of bread making and embark on a fulfilling culinary adventure.