Today’s post is a step by step on how to bake bread. For me this was one of the scariest things to attempt but today was my second time baking it, so I decided to do a step by step just in case I’m not the only scaredy cat out there. Having pictures to guide you always helps to compare that what you are doing looks right!
I used the basic ingredients from JamieOliver.com but I used my own method, his method is a bit messy for me and with my luck I will have more bread on the floor than on the kitchen counter.
- 1 kg strong bread flour
- 625 ml tepid water – I used lukewarm water, heat helps to activate the yeast
- 30 g fresh yeast, or 3 x 7g sachets dried yeast – I used 3 sachets from the box of Woolworths dry yeast.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
I added my flour and salt into my mixer with the chopping blade set up. I then added my sugar and yeast to the warm water, stirred it and let it sit for a couple of minutes until foam started forming on top. I turned on my blender and then added the water mixture to the flour mixture. I kept the machine turned on until it looked like in the picture below. I then took the dough ball out, put it into a bowl and kneaded it a bit. The consistency needs to be soft and elastic. Because I used the mixer I didn’t have to kneaded for very long.
Because it is now cooler in South Africa I covered the dough with a moist, clean kitchen towel, covered it with a plastic bag and left it outside in the sun to proof. The best conditions for proofing when using yeast is warm and moist. Let it sit until it’s doubled in size, that usually takes 30 – 45 minutes.
Next you knock the air out of the dough by giving it a couple of punches and pinches. Now separate your dough into your pains, I made 2 medium loafs and a couple of mini loafs. This recipe should be enough for 1 large loaf but it all depends on your pans. I lightly brushes my pans with some oil, you can use non stick spray or butter. Cover it again and let it proof a second time for the same amount of time as before. This is what will make your bread soft and fluffy, after you are done shaping it don’t touch it again.
Bake your bread at 180°C, when baking one large bread the baking time is 25 – 30 minutes, so use your own discretion when baking smaller breads, I check in on mine at around 20 minutes. When your bread turns golden brown it should be cooked, you can test it by tapping it at the bottom, if it sounds hollow it’s done.
Let if cool for a while and enjoy your fresh homemade bread!
Tonight I’m making Pea Soup, or Snert (this word always gives me a giggle) as it’s called in the Netherlands, I thought the mini loafs would be a perfect addition.
If you feel adventurous you can add cheese and herbs to your dough after the first proof.
“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
― James Beard