Friday, 26 February 2010

recipe day | homemade bread by auntie aggie

I enjoy making my own basic essential food (or beverages): carrot and orange juice, soya yoghurts, vinaigrette, smoothies and same goes for baking (cakes, cookies, muffins etc.) but most of all bread. Homemade bread...with no machine! Not only it is cheaper but it is certainly healthier. I have to specify I have no breadmaker because when I usually mention bread-making to people the first reaction is: "oh, so you have a breadmaker!" as if bread can only be made with a machine (trying to remind people that man was there before machine should be effortless but it is not).  I then explain the usual: don't own one, don't see the need for one when I still have my hands and don't have enough storage in my kitchen even if I wanted one.
Bread is one of the most essential, most used food and easiest thing to make. It is the least rocket science of all baking. It can be rather messy but it's FUN! When it comes to cooking or baking, each one of us has her/his own way of doing things (including in my own household with my partner who seems to have taken my bread-making habits and made it his own). So what I'm sharing here is how I usually do it.  For a big enough loaf of bread use the following: 

  • 500g/1lb 2 oz flour*   > any type will do: wholemeal,wheat, spelt but 'strong' flour is even better
  • 300ml/10 fl oz water  > warm not hot otherwise it will kill the yeast  
  • 1 sachet/1tsp of dry or live yeast ** > my preference goes to live yeast if you can get hold of some
  • 1 tsp of salt 
  • optional: 1 or 2 tsp of sugar > although optional, it gives added flavour and thicker crust
  • optional: 25g of butter or olive oil according to taste 
  • mix the ingredients in a large bowl
  • knead for at least 10 minutes (somehow therapeutical)
  • cover with a (damp)  towel and leave to rest for about 1 hour until it doubles in size
  • in the meantime pre-heat oven to about 200 degrees Celcius
  • knead again one last time to get rid of air in the risen dough and leave it to rest for another 20 minutes or so
  • put dough in tin 
  • optional: decorate by making oblique stripes with a knife and spread a tiny amount of flour on the top
  • bake for 30-35 minutes 
  • remove from oven, let it cool down and ENJOY the smell and taste of your own homemade bread.
Et voilà!!


* For those living in the Netherlands, you can also buy flour from your local windmill like I did the other day

**  What I also do when travelling to France or the UK is to buy other brands of yeast instead of only using Dr Oetker, which is the only yeast I found so far in  supermarkets in the Netherlands. You could also ask your at local bakery if they have live yeast to give away. I find that live yeast helps the dough double in size considerably. 


Aledys Ver said...

:o)This post made me smile: I love the smell of freshly baked bread, it's delicious to have and NOT just to make your "boterham" (I should wink at you here) and it definetely is fun to make, too. One of my first memories of early attempts at cooking have to do with making bread with my grandma (in a real clay oven!) when I was 4/5 years old. The pleasure of putting your hands into the dough, kneading, stretching, rolling.... very fond memories indeed! :o)
And I think I'll follow your advice and find a working mill nearby where I can buy flour! Going back to the basics can be very rewarding, can't it!

aggieLap said...

Indeed, I also find it a rewarding experience to make bread from scratch. It must have been so nice making it with your grandma in a clay oven!! The real thing. Hope you find some flour at your local mill. I'm going to use that mill flour today. Looking forward to it! :)

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