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How to make home made, Artisan bread, and a recipe using wholemeal flour
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
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, which makes the dough nice and stretchy, slowl, 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
There are so many recipes for bread, and just about everyone has their own favourite no matter which country around the world. I suppose they break into two main categories, leavened, or risen bread and unleavened bread such as chapatis and flat bread.
Sour dough bread is the oldest way of making bread by using the natural yeast in the air and grain.
There is some evidence that this style of bread is better for diabetics than normal yeasted bread.
The French method of dough making
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.
Making Bread is Simple
You can put it in your bread machine, but it is not half as much fun as doing it yourself.
Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until you have a slightly sticky dough.
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 tin and cover it again to keep it nice and moist and stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes final proof.
Bake at about gas mark 9; 240ºC for ten minutes and 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.
Note on buying flour.
You are wasting your time making your own bread if you use supermarket brand flour, look for small [local if possible] millers, and always make sure your yeast whether it is fresh or dried is not out of date.
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.♥
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.
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.
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 and give it extra lift.
For the sponge.
100gms whole meal flour.
1oz of fresh yeast.
100ml warm water.
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.
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.
If it is a true wholemeal flour, which can be a bit heavy I like to use;
or 400gms wholemeal and 100gms white bread flour (optional) this makes it easier to get a lighter loaf.
2tsp butter. (I’ve tried using oil and I just don’t think it is as good as butter which also imparts a nice flavour to the bread.
250ml of warm water.
For extra taste you can add, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, millet seeds, almost anything you fancy.
So, once the sponge is ready, you’ll know it will really amaze you the amount of froth and bubbles that are in the mix.
My grandma was a talented bread baker and her house always had that delicious smell of cooked bread. She always seemed to have one loaf rising and one loaf cooking and one loaf on the table. During the depression of the 1920’s many people were really poor and some were starving almost to death, grandma always used to make bread for the neighbours especially any who had children.
Put the rest of your flour into the mixing bowl, make a depression in it, and add the sponge carefully turning the dry flour over it. Leave it to soak for five minutes before you set the mixer going on its slowest mix, add more water but mix very gently, add salt and butter.
Now 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.
Turn it out onto a floured board and knead gently for a few minutes. Be careful not to over need it, especially if you use stone ground wholemeal flour. It’s all about the bran particles cutting the protein particles as the whole thing is developed.
Let it rise for ten minutes until it is noticeable bigger, now shape your dough or place in loaf tins and leave to rise for about an hour. It is much better to put the loaf in the oven under-risen than over risen, because the structure will collapse in the heat and your loaf will sag.
Cook at gm7-450º for about 20 minutes; once again if you have a stone in the oven you can finish the loaf directly on it, but make sure you don’t dry out the bread.
Now for the best bit, let it cool on a wire tray and then slice thickly and add a thick layer of butter. That’s 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