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Bread basics

  • Published at 08:28 pm April 30th, 2017
Bread basics
I am a passionate bread baker and have been baking breads for years. Baking bread is much easier at home than you think. All it takes is a little patience and practice. Once you understand the dough making process, you will be surprised to see how simple it is. Today I am sharing two very easy bread recipes. This white sandwich bread is very fluffy and soft and the herbed buns will be your next party favorite. Give them a try and you will never buy breads from the store again.

Herb and seeded buns

Ingredients  4 cups of flour 1½  cup warm water 1½  tsp yeast 2 tbs sugar 1 tsp salt 1/3 cup olive oil 1/3 cup sun dried tomato (optional) 2 tsp mixed dry herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano or any others you like) 1 beaten egg mixed with 1 tbsp milk for brushing Mixed seeds for topping. I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and rolled oats. Directions  In one cup of warm water, mix the sugar and yeast. Let it foam for two minutes. Mix the salt, flour and herbs in a bowl. Now add the yeast mixture and the rest of the water. Leave a little water for pouring and add it as required. Add the olive oil and knead until it turns into a smooth ball. It takes about 10 minutes of good kneading. The dough will be soft but not sticky. Add the sundried tomatoes and knead in gently into the dough, just to evenly spread it in the dough. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise for 2-3 hours or until it has doubled in size. It will vary depending on the temperature in your home. Once it has doubled in size, punch it down and roll them into 8 to 10 balls. Depends on the size you want. Put them on an oiled baking tray and let it proof again for one hour. It will be doubled in size again. Preheat your oven to 360F/180C. Brush them with egg mixture and top them with your favorite seeds. Bake them for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is nice and brown. Let it cool down slightly before you eat them. DSC04462

White sandwich bread

Ingredients 3 cups of flour 1/2 cup lukewarm water 1/3 cup milk 1½  tsp yeast 1 tsp sugar 1 egg 1 tsp salt 2 tbsp sugar 1/4 cup melted butter 2 tbsp oil Directions In a bowl, add the water, yeast and one teaspoon of sugar. Stir to combine and leave at room temperature for about five minutes. In a separate bowl, place the flour. Make a well in the middle. Pour the yeast mixture, add the egg, sugar, salt, 1/4 cup milk and melted butter. Mix it well and start kneading. Add the rest of the milk as needed. Add the oil, one tablespoon at a time and keep kneading until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. The dough will be soft but not too sticky. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for about two hours or until it has doubled in volume. When the dough has risen, punch it down and shape it into a log. Place it into a 9X5 greased baking pan, cover and let it rest again at room temperature for another one hour or until the bread has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Bake the bread for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is golden brown on top. Once done, brush the top with melted butter and let it cool down in the pan for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, take it out of the pan and let it cool down completely before you slice it. Tips Any bread dough will always differ a little from the recipe, depending on a few things like the brand of flour, temperature of the home and amount of water. The main secret of any good bread is to understand these things. If your home is too warm, then you have to cut down the proofing time. Also, some flour may require more and some flour may require less water. Always make sure your dough is on the softer side rather than hard. Softer dough will always result in softer bread. Even for an expert baker like me, it always takes at least two attempts to get used to a new flour and temperature.