I’m back to a baking spree and I do not regret it at all!!!!! As a matter of fact I’m loving it, the entire experience of proofing the yeast and baking the bread is so captivating and I’m so much in love with my breads that I can’t stop admiring them. I’m like a self obsessed kid who just can’t stop praising herself..and for all this I must thanks Sharanya SL, who is reader of my blog and had requested me to post a tutorial on making a white bread.
With all the candor, I must confess that I have baked many breads till now but never baked a whole white bread only for the simple reason that I’m not very fond of the processed flour. But a request is a request and I respected that and took it as an opportunity to learn new.
I’ve many books on bread baking in my collection and the recent addition to that is Paul Hollywood’s 100 Great Breads. I had read a mixed bag of reviews for this book and decided to buy it simply for the person behind it..Paul Hollywood, who is a baker’s son who went on to work as a baker for many leading hotels. He has also judged many TV shows. This particular book was awarded the ‘top bread and pastry book of the year’ for 2005 by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
When I started reading the book, I thought that’s it quite simple to understand and also realized that this man does not rely on big tools and machine and depends more on hand kneading, I thought suits me fine. It was only when I started using the recipe in terms of ingredients and measures that I realized the problem of this book..the weighs & measures!! The biggest difficulty was that the yeast measure was given in ounces and grams rather than spoons and he also insisted on using fresh yeast like most of all the famous bakers. Fortunately I had got hold of fresh yeast recently and I was more than willing to use it. But measuring fresh yeast in ounces was the trickiest part.. but somehow I sailed through the hurdle..
I tried to stick with the weighs & measures in the book but then I realized that the measure of salt was also high, so I decided to adjust it as per my understanding and expertise..
I decided to use my old OTG and not the microwave for baking.The bread turned out fine and rose well too, but it rose much more than expected and the bread got stuck into the top heating rods of the oven. Fortunately, I was alert and I moved the bread to the bottom shelf but by then it already had got a light burn mark .. The book said that the bread would get ready in 35mins but mine was ready in 20mins, a pat on the top produced a hollow sound, indicating that it was done. I’m still to come across such tips in the book.. When I cut the bread and I looked at the cut slice, the word WOW came out instantly and after eating the first bite I was a happy to see that it was light, moist and soft but I was also disappointed that the bread was very mildly yeasty, which also explained the bread hitting the top of the oven.. So, it confirmed that the yeast required should have been less and the measure probably is incorrect in the book, which even I had felt earlier, but since I was using the fresh yeast for the very first time, I did not take any chances. Due to which my bread was not absolutely white..lessons learnt.
Preparation Time: 15mins | Rising Time: 2hrs | Baking Time: 20-35mins | Serves: 4 | Makes- 1loaf | Difficulty Level: Moderate
500g/ 1lb/ 2oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
60ml/ 2fl ounce olive oil
15g/ 1/2oz yeast ( I thought less would be better)
270ml/ 9fl ounces water ( I used only about 200ml)
Sift the flour, add the yeast, oil and spread the salt over the flour, avoiding direct contact with the yeast.
Warm the water slightly and knead the dough using that. The quantity of water required will vary from flour to flour. Knead the flour for about 10mins, till it’s shows a gloss on the top.
Shaping The Bread
Grease it lightly and leave it to rise for an hour, till it doubles in volume.
Punch down the dough and knead lightly.
Dust the kitchen platform floor with some flour and spread the dough.
Fold the dough slightly from the left and right side of the dough.
From the top fold the dough and start rolling it towards the bottom. Roll completely and shape.
Place the shaped dough in a greased bread tin.
Let the dough rise for about 40-45mins, till it doubles in volume.
Dust the dough on top and bake in a pre-heated oven at 230C for 20-35mins till done. A baked bread sounds hollow when tapped on top.
Remove on a cooling rack. Slice and serve.