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How to make home made, Artisan bread.
Fresh From The Oven
Give us our daily bread.
Bread is such a fundamental food and there is nothing more satisfying than baking your own. The evocative smell of fresh bread stimulates the appetite and has to be a favourite smell.
For over 30.000 years, man has made some sort of bread, even before the first recognised civilisations crude grain mixes were being made into flour to bake some type of bread.
As a foodstuff of great historical and contemporary importance bread has been used as a symbol of life and a euphemism for money, in many languages the word for bread has been incorporated into a language, for example The word companion comes from Latin com- "with" + panis "bread".
The Structure of Wheat
Wonderful Aromas ans Delicious Flavours.
The Origins of Bread Making
As civilisations began to emerge and crops were improved, so bread improved. Wheat, which is the only grain to contain gluten, and makes the dough nice and stretchy, slowly emerged as the best crop for bread making.
There is one problem for milling wheat, wheat is rather an odd shape, with a crease down one side.
Stone Ground Flour
Traditional stone ground flour for bread contained much more bran than modern ground flour. Modern steel mill wheels have teeth that split the grain so that more of the bran and semolina can be removed. The flour used for supermarket white loaves has had all the bran and most of the goodness knocked out of it by massive steel rollers that reduce the wheat to dust.
There are specialist millers still who are more careful, and after first milling it with toothed wheels to crack the wheat they sieve it to remove the bran and the semolina before milling it again, the semolina then goes to smooth rollers to grind it into flour. Semolina is very hard so it is gradually reduced making it into flour by grinding and sieving several times.
If wholemeal is required then all the bran and wheat germ is added back. The end result is a consistent quality flour which can absorb water (slows down the staling of bread) and feed the yeast (to give more lift).
N.B. 1g instant dry yeast = 1.25g active dry yeast = 2.5g fresh yeast
Finished dough temperature: - 28º c if possible
The French method of dough making
There are so many recipes for bread, and just about everyone has their own favourite no matter from which country around the world they come from.
I suppose bread breaks into two main categories, leavened, or risen bread and unleavened bread such as chapatis and flatbread.
Sourdough bread is the oldest way of making bread by using the natural yeast in the air and grain. The flour and water are left to ferment using these natural yeasts that are in the are.
There is some evidence that this style of bread is better for diabetics than normal yeasted bread.
Recipe for a Simple Loaf
500 gm of strong white bread flour. There are many different flour types, but the easiest one is white flour. I like to use a mixture of flour; one third of each of these, white, whole grain, wholemeal. The result is a very nice blend to be eaten anytime.
A pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoon of sugar, or you can use honey if you wish.
300 ml of warm water
Yeast, I use one sachet of dry yeast.
And that is about it, of course you can add extras; such as sesame, sunflower or poppy seeds or a combination just as you please.
Chef's Tip #2
Tip if you want really crusty bread, place a metal tray in the bottom of the oven to get hot and then add some water to turn to steam during the cooking.
you can also mist your dough as you put it in the oven.
Instructions for Making Bread.
- Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until you have a slightly sticky dough.
- Prepare your work surface with a generous dusting of flour.
- Put onto your floured work surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and stretchy, soft and silky.
- Place back into your bowl and cover for 30 minutes this is called the ‘bulk proof’. In this time, it should double in size.
- Turn the dough onto the work surface.
- Push the gas out without tearing the dough and then bring the sides of the dough into a tight ball. (This process is called “knocking back.”)
- Put to one side (cover with a damp tea towel to avoid it skinning) and stand it for another 15 minutes, this is called intermediate proof.
- Knock back the dough again and then mould it into your final shape.
- Place on your tray or into the bread tin and cover it again to keep it nice and moist.
- Stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes final proof.
- Bake at about gas mark 9; 240ºC for ten minutes.
- Then for another ten minutes at gas mark 6, 200º C, finally turn your bread over and cook again at gm 6 for another ten minutes.
How to Enjoy Your Dailey Bread
So often these days bread just holds in the contents of a sandwich or mops up the gravy, but at one time it was the meal and consequently more important.
So I suggest that you try making your bread and then enjoy it by cutting some real 'door-step' slices spreading thickly with some quality butter or soft cheese.♥
Just before you pop it in the oven, you need to make a couple of slits in the top to allow it to rise easily. So why not be a little bit artistic and make up a design for your bread.
Go to my other bread recipes
- Indian style Chapatis and Roti, cooking on an India style iron Tawa pan
An easy to follow guide for making great tasting chappaties and roti. Lots of tips and advice.
- Milk Loaf, Fruit Malt loaf, Bread Recipes
The recipe and easy to follow instructions for two totally different loaves, and yet they both are full of taste and comfort. Indulge yourself with these two old favourites.
HIgh in fibre a fantastic food source
A good wholemeal loaf is a complete meal in itself, spread it with butter, add a little homemade jam; you are now as close to heaven as you’ll ever be in this life.
Make what is known as a flying sponge, which will help to give it an extra lift.
With wholemeal flour you must let it soak awhile, so don’t be in a hurry. Have a coffee about now, maybe do a crossword. Keep the sponge somewhere warm.
Ingredients for Making the Sponge
- 100 gms Whole wheat flour
- 1 oz Fresh Yeast or 4gms dried
- 100 ml Luke warm water
Instructions for Making Your Sponge.
- Add your flour to a warm bowl.
- Add your yeast.
- Add your warm water.
- Mix the ingredients.
- Store in a Kilner Jar or any jar with a loose fitting lid. This allows the natural Yeasts to get into the mix.
- Store in a warm place.
Chef’s Tip #3
I like to rinse my metal mixing bowl with quite hot water before I start; this makes sure that everything stays warm.
Ingredients for Bread Making.
- 400 gms of Wholemeal flour.
- 100 gms Starter mix.
- 50 gms Strong white flour.
- 350 ml lukewarm water.
- 1 Teaspoon of salt.
- 1 Tablespoon of butter or oil.
- 12 gms dried yeast.
Instructions for making Wholemeal Flour
- Put your flour into the mixing bowl and make a depression in it.
- Add the sponge carefully turning the dry flour over it.
- Leave it to soak for five minutes.
- Add the other ingredients.
- Start your mixer using the dough hook on its slowest mix.
- Add more water but mix very gently.
- Add salt and butter.
- Mix to a smooth dough.
- If it looks to tightening up add more water the last thing you want now is it to go dry.
- When it starts to come away from the edge of the bowl, rest it a few minutes and then mix again. (if you are using a machine, do not mix for more than ten minutes.)
- Turn it out onto a floured board.
- Knead gently for a few minutes.
- Put aside to rest.
- Let it rise for ten minutes until it is noticeably bigger.
- Shape your dough or place in loaf tins and leave to rise for about an hour.
Cook at gas mark 7 or 450º for about 22 minutes.
Now for the best bit, let it cool on a wire tray, slice it thickly, and add a generous layer of butter. That is a complete meal nothing else required.
- Use up your leftover bread easy recipes, Bread and Butter pudding and a Tuscan La Panzanella
Bread and Butter pudding, tasty dessert, plus an Italian classic salad