Monday, November 4, 2013

Perfect, crusty, warm bread

Made this evening, luckily we didnt get the powercut that most of Amberley had for an hour or two just at teatime!

I don't follow a recipe, its just how I have adapted bread recipes to suit my making style.

First I put 4 cups of warm water from the tap into a big, big bowl.  Then I add a slosh of sugar (probably about 2T), and either 2 sachets of dry yeast, or 3t of dry yeast depending on what is in the cupboard.  I never use breadmakers yeast, or easy mix yeast etc.

Then I stir in the yeast and let it go frothy, which takes about 1/2hr.

Then I get out my two flour buckets, wholemeal and plain.  I'm not fussy about "strong" flour or "all purpose" etc, I just use the cheapest budget brand white and wholemeal.

Using a cup I start to put flour into the water, 1c of wholemeal (and sometimes 2) first, then plain white flour, stirring with a spoon.  When it is still sloshy I add whatever seeds I fancy (tonight it was sunflower and sesame).  I like to add them at this point to get them well distributed.  The mix takes about 8 cups of flour in total so I count as I go and as I get up to 6, 7 and 8 I watch to see when I have a nice dough.

Tip it out onto a hard surface, well floured and knead.  Push with the heel of your hand and half turn the dough folding the pushed part inside.  Keep kneading and turning for about 10 mins.  This is the dreaming bit, where you can vege out.

Then pour some olive oil onto your hands and knead that in too.  About 2 or 3T.

Then I pour a little oil back into the sticky large bowl.  You dont need to have washed it or anything.  Put in the dough and turn it round and over in the oil to coat the outside so it doesnt go dry as it rises.

Pop some gladwrap ontop of the bowl and then a teatowel.  Leave about 1-2hrs till well risen.  It could easily have spilled up over the top of the bowl.

Take out and cut into two even pieces.  Roll these bits around a bit, making a kind of thick sausage shape.  Roll up from the end,, turn 90degrees and repeat a few times.  Then fold into three, and put into well greased and floured bread tins.  Repeat for the other half.

Leave for about 20 mins to prove.  Then brush with a little milk and bake for 30-40 mins at about 190C.

As you can see I dont usually add salt, but for a change sometimes I do.  It doesnt seem to affect the outcome but depends what you like it to taste of.