Baking bread is one of those things that sounds so intimidating at first. When I mention I’ve been baking bread at the weekend, I inevitably get reactions like “Wow, you know how to do that?” or “You must have a lot of free time.”
I’m a bit obsessed with baking, and especially with baking bread. I truly believe that cooking more is the key to good health. Have you ever looked at the side of a packaged bread wrapper? There are a whole bunch of ingredients, including lots of unpronounceable chemicals (never a good sign). You know what’s in my bread? Flour, water, yeast, salt, and sometimes olive oil. That’s it.
Then there’s another element to bread baking, the intangible stuff. It’s comforting. It’s satisfying. It’s such a sense of accomplishment. It smells amazing. You can even use breadbaking as meditation.
I wish I could come to your house and teach you how to bake bread. But until I can spend my days as a globe-trotting good food teacher, I’m experimenting with the next best thing: video.
So here it is, my very first video which shows you step-by-step, how to bake bread.
Basic White Bread
500 g. strong white flour (approx 1lb flour, or 4.5 cups. Weigh it if you can, it’s more accurate!)
1.5 tsp dried yeast
1.5 tsp salt
400 ml. warm water
1 TB olive oil (optional)
Short Method (for full instructions, watch video):
1) Mix the ingredients until just combined.
2) Turn out onto floured board and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
3) Put in oiled bowl and let rise until doubled in size, 1.5-2 hours
4) Shape loaf and place on baking tray. Allow to rise for 45 more minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven as hot as possible. Place an empty baking pan in the bottom of the oven (to hold water while baking).
5) Boil 1 cup of water. Slash the top of the bread with a knife. Sprinkle/spray a little cold water on the surface of the bread. Put the bread in the oven. Pour the boiled water into the pan in the bottom of the oven to generate steam. Bake for 10 minutes at the hottest setting.
6) Now turn down the heat to 325f/350f (160/180c). If the top is very brown, turn the oven to 325, if the top isn’t very brown, leave it at 350 or 375f. Remove pan of water. Let finish baking for 30-45 more minutes or until the loaf sounds ‘hollow’ when tapped.
7) Let cool before eating (if you can!)
Are you going to try baking bread? Let me know your questions, and I will answer them in an upcoming video or post!
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