DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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26 August 2015

Our daily bread

I've had a few requests to write about how I make bread. I've written a number of bread posts but as it's such a big part in our lives, let's go through it again.

Even thought the bread I make looks like different recipes, I change the type of flour I use to get the variety I want but the recipe stays pretty much the same. I always use baker's flour, not pre mix. Over the years I've used plain white, wholemeal, whole grain, soy and linseed, corn and barley, leckerbrot and rye.  At the moment I have organic spelt, rye, white and wholemeal flours in the cupboard and it will eventually make up bread of different forms such as sandwich loaves, free-form loaves, bread rolls, baps and French loaves.

My tutorial for making bread by hand is here 
Making bread using a bread machine is here

  BREAD RECIPE  

  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast 
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or honey 
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 4 cups bread flour (can be any variety – wholemeal, rye, white, grain or spelt) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 350 ml warm water (approximately) Read what I said about water in the links above
Make sure the flour and yeast are fresh and if you want a more tender dough for to use for pizza, add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter. You can freeze the dough if you want to. It's often handy to have a few batches of dough big enough to make a pizza base in the freezer.

The following photos are all bread made using the recipe above but with different flour and toppings.









If you're a new baker, don't give up if your bread isn't what you expect the first time you make it. It took me ages to perfect a good dough, to know what to look for in the dough and to always get my hands in and feel it, even if it's being made in the bread maker.  Teach yourself through trial and error what good dough feels and looks like and over the days and weeks, you'll teach yourself to produce loaves good enough to be used for sandwiches, rolls and toast. When you start producing good bread, experiment with toppings, additives and different shapes.

Remember the bread you bake will be made exactly to the dietary requirements of you and your family and nothing you can buy at the shops will be as good as what you bake at home.  Your bread will be cheaper than the good bread you can buy (but not the cheap and nasty supermarket loaves), you'll know exactly what's in it and you'll have fresh bread in your home whenever you want it. I hope you try your hand at this because it's one of the core skills of a simple home. Even if it looks too difficult for you, trying and then perfecting a bread recipe will help you produce quality food in your own home and it will challenge you. And we all need that.


23 comments:

  1. Oh yes, please do keep on trying everyone! It took me several bad baken breads, ready for the trash, but those who will hang on.. You sure will end up with a lovely, delicious, homemade bread! ;-)
    Lovely to see that great variaty of loafs Rhonda. Makes me to go to the kitchen and try me another glutenfree and vegan bread. Thank you again, for your inspiration and thoughts!

    Love from Holland

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  2. Thanks Rhonda. I've just started to try making my own bread and this post plus the tutorial link were very helpful. One question - whenever I have made a loaf in a tin it comes out in a "wave" ie one side has risen higher than the other and is split along the side. I've tried different oven settings but it doesn't seem to make a difference. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Melissa, it sounds like your oven has a hot spot on one side. Is it always the same side? Can you turn the loaf around 10 minutes after you put it in and see if that works. And make sure you preheat the oven before you put the bread in. Good luck.

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  3. I also bake all our bread, biscuits, muffins, etc from scratch, although I use a sourdough starter instead of yeast. It keeps forever in the refrigerator as long as you feed it once a week if you're not using it. Our favorite all purpose bread is a mix 1/3 whole wheat, 1/3 white, and 1/3 rolled oats (soaked). Like you there is just hubby and I but it is more than worth the effort it takes to know what your eating!

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    Replies
    1. Would love your recipe for this please.
      My email is jcatesby6@gmail.com
      I use sourdough always too.

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  4. Hi Rhonda, have u written any articles on using wholemeal flour? Whenever I do the loaf always ends up very dense and often doesn't cook through..any tips?

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    Replies
    1. Cara, substitute a cup of wholemeal for white flour. That will lighten the dough, you'll still have a wholemeal loaf but it will be lighter. Good luck.

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  5. One day I'll give this a go. I LOVE making our own pizza dough (though we don't eat pizza any where near as often as we eat bread ;)), and this looks so delicious and cozy! :)

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  6. It's always good to revisit the basics. I'm now adding one and a half tablespoons of olive oil after doing Fiona's course down at Gerringong.

    The haircut is lovely.

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    Replies
    1. The addition of fat to the dough makes it much easier to handle. Fiona is an excellent baker. I'd go to her workshop if I lived closer.

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  7. I made some wholemeal rolls n the weekend but they were too heavy so ended up throwing them away. I can make the NYT 5 minute bread, Turkish bread and focaccia but I'm yet to master the soft everyday loaf of bread for sandwiches. I have made your bread recipe a couple of years ago and it wasn't what I wanted however now I use a thermometer to check my water temperature and I find that better. I will give this recipe another go it's a good post. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    Replies
    1. Kathy, look above and read what I said to Cara. About a quarter of white flour will lighten wholemeal while still giving you the fibre and flavour you expect. You'll get there. xx

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  8. Thanks Rhonda. I'm slowly getting better at breadmaking.My earlier loaves were very dense and heavy, but I've learnt that I wasn't kneading the dough quite long enough. Now I'm a little more thorough and patient with the process and the loaves are turning out half decent. Not quite as nice and fluffy looking as your ones but a lot better and they're at least edible. Your ones look as good as anything you'd find in a bakery.

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    Replies
    1. You'll get there, Miki, it takes time. You'll need at least 8 - 10 minutes of hand kneading for light bread. Good luck, love.

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  9. Great post thanks Rhonda...I'm addicted to bread baking and started with your no knead bread which I still make but I'm so in love with sourdough. I've just made an orange, cinnamon, fruit and nut loaf that I'm waiting to cool so I can slather it with some butter and enjoy with my cuppa. Jan x

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  10. I have had to recently start a low sodium diet and bread is the one thing I really miss! I must start making my own again, it's been too long since it was a regular part of my routine.

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  11. I have always admired your beautiful breads! After a couple years, I've finally become a decent bread maker! I've learned especially about how the dough should feel, like you say. I'm at a higher altitude and also discovered my breads need extra flour (and often less time in the oven) than a typical recipe calls for.
    -Jaime

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  12. I just love baking our bread, like you, changing flours, additions, toppers as I go. It took ages to 'perfect' and even now, occasionally have a problem. We still eat it!

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  13. This is something I have always wanted to do, and just never seem to. Your bread looks truly devine Rhonda, you have inspired me to have a go. Thankyou. :-) :-)
    Cheers Jane.

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  14. A wonderful post - my dough is rising on the counter as we speak. An important skill, one that connects you to the importance of providing care and nourishment to yourself and those you love.
    xo

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  15. A great post! I enjoy making my own bread but my rolls don't turn out as nice. They don't bake in uniform size. There must be a technique for this. Thanks for sharing and have a blessed day. Really cute haircut.

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  16. The oat bread and the rolls are to die for. I'm going to the kitchen to make the oat bread!

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  17. I made some bread today using this recipe thank you I'll never buy shop bought again!! The house smells Devine!!!

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