Makes one large loaf or 8 medium sized pizza bases .
You need a weighing scale which measures in metric , a good oven and a baking tray or loaf tin. Can bake in other random stuff once you get the hang of it.( I make one in a old coffee tin and comes out beautifully)
- Flour 500 g
- Active dry yeast- 10 g( I prefer to use this since I get most consistent results, sourdough is a different matter which we will discuss in another post). Yeast is an amazing living thing that needs warmth, moisture and time to multiply ..more or less of each will affect the activity of yeast and the springiness/ sponginess of the bread.
- Sugar – 10 g / can use raw, white , brown or honey ..Yeast needs to feed on sugar and starches but there are a few breads we can make without.
- Salt -10 g. Very important, this helps for us to taste the bread and is the most important aspect in the bread ,after flour and water . We can make bread without sugar and yeast but not salt. Salt controls the rise of the yeast as well if you don’t put any the yeast activity will be a like a racing car without a brake..so don’t forget it..You don’t need a fancy pants salt for inside the dough but if you are able to get salt flakes for the topping it’s great or as a table salt.
- Water warm preferred – 325 GM/ ml..warm because yeast activity is best between 30-35 so should just feel warm to your hand.if it’s too hot you will kill the yeast , too cold and takes longer for the yeast to multiply and make carbon dioxide which gives bread the holey texture.
- Olive oil or melted butter – 50 g
First sieve the flour ..this aerates the flour and removes any physical hazards ( paper clips, finger nails, bits of plastic, you will be amazed what all goes inside).
Then add the yeast, salt and sugar one at a time mixing in between ..if salt or sugar come in contact directly with the yeast they can kill it.
Pour the warm water in a bowl with the dry ingredients and stir together with a spoon and leave aside for about 15 minutes..grab a coffee or a glass of wine.This stage of the dough making is called as autolyse and was devised by a French chemist and bread enthusiast called Raymond calvel who is widely regarded as the Moses of artisan bread baking. How it helps is complex science but in a nutshell develops the gluten ( elastic rubber like protein ) which helps trap the CO2 formed by the yeast and gives bread it’s holes/ crumb.Dont worry about the terminology it’s just for bread snobs to pretend they know what they are talking about.
After the 15 minutes are up .start to knead the dough , it’s not hard to do and helps to develop the gluten further .( Go back to start if you missed that bit about what gluten does).
knead for about 5 minutesor so until the dough is nice and smooth then add the oil and knead some more .The oil and or butter helps shorten the gluten strands and make it’s tastier but can be made without…with some breads you can go upto 75%of flour quantity ..so for a kg of flour U add 750 g of butter , but that’s another twist in the tale and for another heart breaking recipe .
Then cover your dough with a damp clean cloth or some gladwrap / plastic wrap/ clingfilm. And keep in warm area..for maximum rise quickly. Can proof in the fridge too but takes longer.Proofing is a process where the yeast starts to eat the sugar and starches in the flour an makes CO2. This is like a rubber balloon filling with gas. And we need to control it otherwise it’s going the break.
So we knock back or de gas the dough and allow the gluten to relax. This U do by pressing down and either shaping into smaller pieces or leaving it whole but compressed.
Then proof again..same way like before .
Now preheat your oven to 190 C . Empty it first if your oven has lots of stuff inside .Mine does .
Divide your dough into 2/4/8 progressively or keep whole to make into a loaf.
I’ll put pictures down here of rolls and a loaf later .
Once you have these shaped ..you roll it between your palms or palm and table ..to be as smooth as possible .
Then final proof once you place it on a tray.
Once it’s proofed to the right degree .( How to check is tricky..u gently press down on the dough and it should not spring back but leave a small impression).
Bake then for roll about 10-12 mins..
A loaf will take about 25-30 mins.
Pizza approximately 7-10 mins.