The Idiots guide to baking bread.(34 Posts)
Ok, I can cook anything pretty much anything, cakes, meals form scratch, tricky desserts but I can't do bread
Can someone please be kind enough to give me the simplest recipe there is for an everyday loaf. I need one that I can't cock up.
I don't have a breadmaker and I'm trying to save money so don't really want to shell out on one.
Care to help a lady anyone?
There's a recipe on the bbc good food website called bread in 4 easy steps or something like that-sorry can't link on this phone, but I tried it last week and it was so easy and delicious! Good luck
What type of bread? Soft, chewy, sourdough, crusty?
This is a Jamie Oliver pizza dough recipe which is a) a piece of piss - you'd struggle to mess it up and b) is actually really nice bread if you just form it into a loaf-type shape after the knocking back stage and an hour or so before you start to cook it. 200C, 25 mins or so.
Here's his basic bread recipe - probably easier than my bastardized pizza dough version.
I have the Paul Hollywood book but it's a bit patchy, tbh.
Sorry I should have been clearer, I want a loaf I can slice for sandwiches toast, something very basic I can mater before moving onto harder things, I'm trying the Good Food easy bread recipe right now, it's proving... This is the bit it usually goes wrong at so we shall see.
I learn to make bread through this and never looked back. The milk loaf is the softest fluffiest bread ever, and with the basic recipe you can add seeds and nuts and dried fruits and stuff. They are our staple. Periodically we do fancy bread too, but the principles are the same.
Best tip I had was that you can never overknead bread when doinf it by hand - so when you think it's done, do it for 5 mins more.
I never knead my bread much - 3 light kneads over 1/2 hour does the job. I always time it so that it's when I'm pottering about in the kitchen...
Sorry didn't mean to say you are wrong! I think the resting between light kneads does something to the gluten, or something like that.
I've actually found that you don't need to knead or knock down - just pull it all together, a bit wetter than smooth, and then leave in the tin for a couple of hours.
The trickiest bit is having a warm enough kitchen [brr]
For a soft loaf use milk instead of water. If you want softer still add some butter and even softer add an egg as well.
I use an all purpose flour about 600g add 50 g of soft butter and an egg a teaspoon of dry yeast and same of salt. Add enough semiskim milk to bring it together in a really rough dough. Err on the side of sticky. Leave for 20 minutes and then tip out and knead for 5 - 10 minutes. Rise until it has doubled.
Tip out onto the bench and gently push out with your fingers into a rectangle that measures on its shotr side just longer than your tin. Roll the dough towards you on the short axis, making sure you tension the dough as you go. . Put it into the tin with the sides tucked under . Leave to rise again - it needs to be just resistant to the touch.
Brush with melted butter and cook for about 25 - 30 minutes in a pre heated oven ( 170 to 190 ish.
Dame some of my breads I put in the fridge to let the flavour develop.
I have been baking a lot from Paul Hollywoods book and tv series (recipes on bbc website) and we mostly eat home baked bread now. I have modified his ciabatta mix to make easy rolls for packed lunches and also use it for pizza bases and garlic bread. I use 500 g white bread flour (80p for 1.5 kg for most supermarket own brands) add 1.5 tsp salt 20g fresh yeast (can buy from bakery section of supermarket and about 20p for 60g) then slowly mix in 400 mls of water. Can use your hands (messy but this is how I do it) or a mixer. Need to add water slowly and mix for about 10mins until its smooth (although buns still turn out ok if you haven't got the time to get rid of all the lumps). Put in a plastic tub coated in olive oil for atleast an hour to prove. Put bun shaped blobs (makes about 8 large buns) on an oiled tray or baking stone leave form20 mins then bake for 20 mins at 200 degrees C on a fan oven.
I have found these the easiest to make as you can make the mix at anytime of the day and bake them when your ready as over proving doesn't seem to spoil them as it can a normal loaf.
Avoid putting the salt straight onto the yeast.
Don't skip the sugar it helps the yeast.
If you want super fluffy white use milk as part of your liquids so if its 300ml water to 500g flour use 150ml each of milk and water. Or add a couple of spoons of milk powder.
All ingredients should be at room temperature or extra time should be allowed for them to warm up i.e. lukewarm water (less than 40deg) to activate yeast, no cold butter/ milk / egg.
If you want to enrich the loaf add an egg as part of the liquids (I break it into the measuring jug and top up to 300ml fluid with water)
Cover whilst its proving to keep the moisture in and prevent it crusting. I use an unused bath hat (£0.19from homebargains) over the mixing bowl with the mixer dough hook uncliped into it so I do't have to wash it between each proving/ mixing stage.
If you need to speed up proving and the house is cold use the defrost setting in your oven or microwave so long as its not more than about 35deg.
If the yeast is getting old you need to add more.
450g Allinson premium very strong flour
15g fresh yeast ( ask at the bread counter at your supermarket Sainsburys definitely do it)
300ml warm water
good pinch of salt
Mix salt into flour in large bowl and make a well in flour.
Mix yeast into water. Pour into well in flour with oil. Mix with hand until it forms dough.
Take out and need for 5+ mins on lightly floured surface. Do not add any further flour. The oil will stop it sticking. When you can poke your finger into dough and it springs straight out then place in bowl and cover. Leave in a warm placed for 1 hour or until double size. knock back and lightly need to remove air. Shape and either place on tray or in oiled loaf tin. Leave to prove for 30mins or until double size and cook in hot baking oven 220 c ( less for fan assisted) put in a clean baking tray at bottom of oven before heating up. When you put bread in add some water to heated baking tray to create steam. This gives a nice crust.
I spent a lot of last summer experimenting with lots of bread recipes. This one give consistent results. You have to be accurate with measurements. Too much water will end with a dough that doesn't support its shape. It is great for sandwiches the same day. I always get better results with fresh yeast.
Can't believe no-one has mentioned the 5 min a day bread yet!
The basic recipe and instructions are here
I use a 4.5l tupperware with a hole in the top
1 lb strong flour (white, wholemeal or granary or a mixture)
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp instant action yeast
12 fl oz warm water
Each mixture makes two loaves, you can double the Tupperware size and double the mixture if it will fit in the fridge. You don't need to wash the bowl out between uses.
I haven't bought bread in ages, I use it to make a loaf, rolls and pizza dough
Well it didn't rise at all
I'll try again tomorrow, I'm not sure what's going wrong!
Try your yeast in some water a teaspoon of flour and sugar for 10 minutes. You should see some froth on the top. If you don't - get another tin of yeast ( and keep it in the fridge or freezer)
What is the temperature in your kitchen?
Mine's quite cool tonight.
If the ingredients were cold and the room is cold it might still be proving come the am.
If you haven't binned it try just covering it and leaving it till the morning.
I'll test my yeast today, my kitchen is usually quite warm (tumble dryer going 24/7 sees to that!)
Maybe I'm not kneading enough? .... How long is enough?
I'm intrigued by 5 minute bread so I'll be trying that as a daily bread when I move in a couple of weeks time.
I WILL win at bread yet!
anchovies could I half that mix to make one loaf?
You can find a bread to fit your schedule. We even have a sourdough that is mixed in the morning, left alone, "processed" in the evening for a few minutes, left over night, put in tin in the morning, and then baked when we get back from work. Once you get your basics right the (bread) world is your oyster!
As for kneading enough, I think there's a test that involves poking it with your finger to see if it springs back. But Dan Lepard's method just involves kneading it a few seconds and leaving for 10 minutes - repeat 3 times. That always works for me.
But test the yeast first!
I used to have problem but now I can't believe I did. Bread making is easy (you WILL find out). Proove the bread with a towel or similar over the top (stops skin forming). Don't bother timing the rising or prooving. In fact, the longer it takes the better tasting the bread. You can proove in a fridge o/n. The two 'crimes' I must have committed a lot were: adding salt and yeast together (you get no rise at all) and making the dough too dry (slow rise but never doubling, very heavy crumb). You should be aiming for 60% hydration (60mls liquid for 100g of flour) - this is quite wet when you begin but with kneading it forms a nice dough ball. Or, for the very best results, you go for a higher hydration and leave o/n - no kneading required.
I've tested my yeast, it's very much alive and fascinating to watch, the DCs have been using it as afternoon entertainment.
So I'm using the goo food recipe again except this time I'm using a teaspoon of sugar for the yeast and not adding salt at the same time. I'm going to use the knead for a few seconds then rest for 10 mins approach and see how I fare this time.
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