Friday, 21 September 2012
Bread and butter... Oh the simple Pleasure
Fresh bread isn't something that should be feared, and you don't need a mixer or any special ingredients to make it work either, although a mixer would be nice. The entire process only takes a couple of hours and the result is amazing, you get a lovely sweet crusty loaf of bread that would be great on the tables of any restaurant let alone on your own table with freshly made cultured butter. And trust me, you haven't had butter until you have made and eaten your own cultured butter, I will add the recipe for this later on, but it is so ridiculously simple that you will wonder why you have never had it before.
But back to the bread. I have made a lot of bread, in restaurants and at home and I always come back to this recipes because of its simplicity and the fact that it can be made really easily in a couple of hours. The trick with it is to use shopping bags to make your own little proving chamber.
• 3/4 cup warm water (30-34 degrees c)
• 1 tablespoon of active dried yeast
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1 tbsp butter
• 1/2 cup milk
• 3 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
1. In small ramekin, add the warm water and sugar. Sprinkle dry yeast over water and stir slightly. Let sit for 10-15 minutes or until yeast starts to bubble.
2. In a small sauce pan, add milk and butter and heat until warm to the touch.
3. In large stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix in first 2 cups of flour and salt on low speed. Add milk mixture and then yeast. Begin adding last cup of flour gradually, until dough begins to form and starts moving away from the sides of the bowl and clinging to the dough hook.
4. Turn dough out onto floured board and knead, adding small amounts of flour. You will knead the dough an additional 8-10 minutes until it is soft and smooth, not sticky. If you add too much flour, your dough will be heavy and dense, causing gluten to form.
5. Spray large bowl with non-stick spray and place dough in the bowl, turning once to coat. Place you shopping bag over the top and tuck underneath the bowl. Let rise in a draft-free spot for one hour. If your oven has a proofing feature, this is a great place for the first rise. Also, do not leave it rise on a sunny spot on your counter or it will form a crust and won't be as good.
6. After the first rise, take dough out of the bowl, place on a floured board, and punch down slightly. Shape dough into loaf and place into a greased pan. Cover again with plactic shopping bag and let rise again for 30-45 minutes.
7. During the second rise, preheat your oven to as hot as you can get it. Place the bread inside and throw a splash of water on the bottom of the oven to create some steam. Bake for 45 minutes until the loaf is brown. If bread is browning too quickly before end of baking time, place a piece of tin foil over top and continue to bake. In the last 5 mins, throw in some more cool water and close the oven, this will allow the crust to become lovely and chewy.
8. Remove bread from oven and take it out of the pan to cool on a rack. Bread should also have a golden hue on the bottom. You can also test doneness by tapping the bottom of it slightly with your hand—you should hear a hollow sound.
Eat with butter or make sandwiches, you can even add rosemary, thyme, cheese or anything into this recipe, just make sure you do it after the first rise.
I will add the butter recipe in the coming days, it's really beautiful with this bread and is well worth the effort.
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