My first post for the year 2013 and it is about baking!
I have been baking a lot of bread lately. This easy recipe from Jezebel.com wins the prize for the simplest, tastiest loaf of fresh bread that a novice like me can make at home. You need only 4 ingredients:
- 3 cups of warm water
- 1.5 tablespoon of yeast
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 6-6.5 cups of all-purpose flour
In a tall, airtight container (like the ones you use to store powder milk or dry pasta or water), mix the warm water with salt and yeast and let them bubble away. Then dump in all the flour and mix thoroughly til there is no flour pockets left.
Loosely seal the top and leave the dough on the kitchen counter for about 1-2 hours till the dough has risen all the way to the top. Then, seal it tightly and put it the the fridge overnight. This dough makes about 2 loaves of bread and can keep in the fridge for about 3 weeks.
That’s it. You are done with the prep.
Whenever you want to have some bread, preheat the oven to 230 Celcius. Depending on the kind of oven you have, you may want to adjust this. I use a cheap electric oven and its temperature is not exactly accurate, so I check my bread from time to time to make sure it doesn’t burn. Anyway, lightly oil the loaf pan, I just use regular sunflower or palm oil, then take the chilled bread dough out of the fridge and use your oily hands to scoop out the dough and form it into a loaf. Using a sharp knife, score the top – this step is completely unnecessary but I do it anyway to make the bread prettier.
Bake for about 30- 35mins; to crisp the sides, turn up the heat to 250 Celcius during the last 5 mins. The baked bread will have a hollow sound when you tap it. I let it cool a little bit on the counter before attacking it, and I keep the leftover in the fridge.
I have used same basic recipe and exchanged the ingredients to make all kinds of bread. Here’s the substitution list:
- Potato Bread – swap 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of instant mash potato.
- Wholemeal Bread – swap all flour with wholemeal flour, which I warmed for 5 mins in the microwave before dumping it into the mix.
- Mixed Grains Bread – retain same wholemeal recipe, just add in about 1 cup of (combined) rolled oats, seeds and nuts into the mix. I do a quick egg wash and stick some of the nuts and seeds on top of the bread, then bake as usual.
- Almond Meal Bread – swap 1 cup of flour with 1 cup of almond meal.
You can eat the homemade bread the same way you would storebought bread. The texture is chewy and rough (I don’t know how to explain it but it is not smooth and silky like the white bread you buy from the shop) like the kind of rolls you get at hotels or restaurants. I usually cut it thickly and use it for open-face sandwich, my current favourite being the apple and cheese mustard sandwich.
APPLE AND CHEESE MUSTARD SANDWICH
Mix a tablespoon each of grainy mustard and plain yogurt with a few drops of olive oil and lemon juice and pepper to make the dressing. No salt please. Slice apples thinly, any kinds of apples can be used.
I assemble them in this order, but you can use whatever order you like: a thick slice of bread, dressing, emmental cheese (doesn’t matter whether it’s the grated kind of the sliced kind); I blast this in the microwave for 20 seconds. Then pile on apple slices and pickles (optional). If I have the ingredients I usually make a little salad of diced tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, cranberries and almond flakes on the side using the same mustard dressing that I use on the sandwich. Yum.
If you are using this recipe(s) to make your own bread, let me know how it goes!