Sunday, 6 January 2013

Basic white bread

Your bog-standard yeast-based non-sourdough white bread is what Dan and I like best. Makes the best toast BY FAR in our opinion, so will probably be the basis for a lot of our inventions. So what if it's not fashionable! Here's the recipe I use.

Kneading dough

500g strong white bread flour
30g butter, cubed and softened
10g fast-action yeast
10g salt
300ml water

Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast on one side of the flour and the salt on the other. Add the butter and most of the water, then mix by hand using a circular motion and keep turning until all the dry ingredients are incorporated into a soft and very slightly sticky dough, only adding all the water if necessary to get the right consistency.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 6 to 8 minutes until the dough has changed texture from grainy to smooth and pillowy. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel or oiled clingfilm. Leave the dough to rise for just over an hour, until it has doubled in size (put it in a slightly warm place in the winter), then knock out the air by punching it while it's in the bowl. This is Dan's favourite bit, as you can see above.

Turn it out on to a flat surface and knead for 30 seconds before shaping it for a loaf tin or into a round or into evenly weighed and shaped rolls (makes 9 large rolls; 12 smaller ones). Place the shaped dough in an oiled tin or baking tray, cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for 30 minutes or so, until doubled in size. Turn the oven on to heat up to 200C (400F, gas 6) while the dough is proving. At the end of this rise, dust the shaped dough with flour or brush with milk or egg (depending on the finish you want), slash the top with a sharp knife if it's a loaf or large round, and either leave rolls rounded or make scissor cuts in the top. Bake in the centre of the oven - 30 minutes for a loaf, about 15-20 minutes for rolls.

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