10 June 2007

Baking bread

I love making bread and do it almost every day. We eat it fresh and warm at lunchtime and toasted for breakfast the following morning. Any leftovers go to the chooks and the dogs, who always hang around when they smell bread baking.

Here is the recipe for my loaf, pictured above:

  • 1½ teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 65 mls warm water
  • 3¾ cups baker's flour
  • 3 teaspoons gluten flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter/margarine (softened)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • 250 mls warm water + more if necessary

Just a word about flour. Bread mix, which is commonly used in bread machines, is flour with bread improver and flavour enhancers added. We are NOT using bread mix in this recipe. By adding the ingredients we add, we're adding natural flavour to the bread as well as giving it a lift, that as an inexperienced baker, you won't get without the gluten flour. When you start experimenting with other recipes you can leave out some of these ingredients and try others. Another thing you need to know about flour is that it's different all over the country. When baking with the various flours, they take different amounts of water. A flour in Melbourne will be slightly different to a flour in Brisbane because of the amount of humidity in the air. And even if you use the same bag of flour at different times of the year, you'll probably use slightly more or less water, according to the weather conditions. This is not a problem, it just means you have to know what your dough should look and feel like before going to the next step. Bread making is very tactile, even when making the dough in a bread machine, I feel it to make sure I have enough moisture in the dough. This recipe generally uses 315mls of water, but when I made this loaf yesterday I used about 40mls more. Sometimes the difference will be one spoon full, sometimes it will be almost a cup.

If anyone needs help with their breadmaking, either add a comment or email me and I'm sure we'll get you on the right track.

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