Until I started my program I never enjoyed making bread. I made it once when I was younger and hated the flavour (turned out to be sourdough), and then my husband constantly kept making it with a bread maker we received for a wedding present, but those came out small and dense. Well today I decided I wanted to try making bread from home using what I learned from school, also fresh hot bread tastes the best!
For one, the ingredients are extremely easy for french bread. Yeast, salt, water, and bread flour. Metro doesn’t seem to sell fresh yeast so I ended up with instant yeast. Additionally, we have always had a proofer to activate the yeast so today I went with my mother’s suggestion of what she used to do which was cover the bowl with a moist cloth and put it on the oven with the heat on.
To start with I mixed the dough. Like the cookies from Thursday it was quite simple, just a matter of mixing the yeast with water and then pouring it into the salt and flour to begin kneading. The process didn’t take long since I only did half the recipe in case things didn’t turn out right.
Next I tried chef’s window test with the dough; which is taking a small ball of dough then pulling it apart till it is clear in the centre to check the gluten strands. After confirming there was strands, I think, I proceeded to let the dough rest in the bowl with a damp tea towel over top with the oven set to 400.
I was a little nervous this method may not work and maybe I had just wasted the ingredients, but about 30 minutes later I checked the dough and was surprised to find the dough had in fact grown larger.
Once the dough had doubled I then proceeded to roll out the shapes I wanted. I decided to go for a classic baguette, and then some mini ones that I could add meat to for lunches this coming week. For the baguette I weighed out 350 g, and for the mini ones 120 g. I tried to remember the tips that chef had given us to roll out nice baguettes, like once they were rolled to large rectangles fold in the left and right edge by a couple of centimeters which would help with tapering the ends when they were completely rolled.
Again I let them sit for a bit to expand and popped them into the oven. About 15 minutes later everything was finished baking and I was surprised how well they turned out.
As you can see the scouring on the top one didn’t come out wonderfully, but the bottom one looks good. Chef’s tip on folding the edges really did help making the ends look better while I was also glad to see I added the right amount of instant yeast to the mixture.
Another thing I learned is to not eat the hot bread that comes right out the oven. Apparently the yeast is still doing stuff and it is going to make your tummy feel sick after a while. Well this is why I called it food experimentation, to learn as I go.
Anyways, the recipe is simple and cheap, and making half a batch each Sunday could also supply me with sandwich supplies for the week. So if you’re feeling a little unsure whether or not to try making bread at home, remember all you need is:
875 g of warm water
45 g of fresh yeast or 17 g of instant dry yeast
1500 g of bread flour
30 g of salt
1. Mix the yeast in with the warm water, then pour it into a bowl with the flour and salt.
2. Using your hand, mixing everything together and once combined plop it onto the counter and continue kneading it for a few minutes. You’re kind of looking for a smooth texture.
3. Place the dough back into the bowl, if desired rub the top with a little oil. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and place it on an oven top on high heat. Let sit for about an hour or until doubled in size.
4. Once done roll into the shapes that you want for bread, like a baguette.
5. Again let sit until it has grown larger.
6. Bake at 400 F for about 10 minutes then continuously check until it has turned slightly golden and no longer has a doughy gray look.
Well I hope that was insightful and that you too will try making your own delicious bread.