Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Magic of Homemade Bread

There truly is something magical about homemade bread. 
The smell, the taste, the fluffiness. The 'bread' in the supermarkets doesn't compare to the real stuff. THE GOOD STUFF!
It's almost Valentines Day and we should be writing poems about the people we love but I'll be writing about my love for homemade bread. Why people don't write love poems about bread and bakers I don't know. 

Thou art more satisfying with some butter spread upon your warm crust.

Ok it's a little creepy. It's hard to tell whether I'm hungry or horny. But I don't go around writing poems about bread. But it's been ages since I've had really amazing homemade bread. What really made me change my outlook on baking was t.v's, The Fabulous Baker Brothers. If you get the chance definitely watch it if you get the chance.  

The method that my pastry tutor swears by is the 'Richard Bertinet' method. I was a non-beliver to begin with but when the bread came out of the oven. My mouth was watering!
Homemade white bread and Focaccia bread made by me in pastry class


Basic White Bread

  •        500g strong flour
  •        10g fresh yeast
  •        10g salt
  •        350ml warm water (plus a little extra)
  •        Olive oil for greasing the loaf tin
Equipment:

  •        Bowl
  •        Scraper
  •        Sieve
  •        Pastry brush
  •        Loaf tin
  •        Tray filled with water


1.    Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 9/475f/250c so that is very hot. Place the tray with warm water into the oven at this stage.
2.    Sieve the flour into the bowl and rub the fresh yeast into the flour. (Make sure that the salt doesn’t make contact with the yeast.)
3.    Add the salt and warm water, once the yeast has completely rubbed in.
4.    Using your scraper, mix the dough until smooth. It may need a little more warm water just add a little bit at a time so that its sticky but not wet.
5.    Remove from the bowl and place on work-surface (without flour on the surface). Fold the bread like this. Pick it up, slap it on the surface of the table and fold it over itself and repeat until it forms a smooth lovely dough. (It looks like it's gone wrong but trust me it works)
6.    Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to proof for about 30 minutes.
7.    The dough should have doubled in size. Lightly scrap the dough onto a work surface and knead it a little again. And fold it to shape it to fit the loaf tin.
8.    Proof again for another 30 mins.
9.    Turn the oven down to Gas Mark 7/425f/220c and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Foccacia meaning 'hearth, place for baking' was thought to have first been made in ancient Rome and is similar to a tradtional pizza dough. It is seasoned with salt, olive oil and often Italian herbs. 
In this version, its simply done with rosemary and salt.
Homemade white bread and Focaccia bread made by me in pastry class

 Foccacia

  •       500g strong flour
  •        20g semolina
  •        15g fresh yeast
  •        10g salt
  •        50g olive oil, plus extra to decorate on top and to oil the tray
  •        320ml water
  •        Rosemary and salt to decorate
Equipment:

  •        Baking tray
  •        Sieve
  •        scraper
  •        Bowl
  •        Pastry brush
  •        Tray with warm water placed in the oven.

1.    Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 9/475f/250c so that is very hot. Place the tray with warm water into the oven at this stage.
2.    Sieve the flour into the bowl, add the semolina and rub the fresh yeast into the mixture. (Make sure that the salt doesn’t make contact with the yeast.)
3.    Add the salt, olive warm water, once the yeast has completely rubbed in.
4.    Using your scraper, mix the dough until smooth. It may need a little more warm water just add a little bit at a time so that its sticky but not wet.
5.    Remove from the bowl and place on work-surface (without flour on the surface). Fold the bread like this. Pick it up, slap it on the surface of the table and fold it over itself and repeat until it forms a smooth lovely dough.
6.    Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place to proof for about 30 minutes.
7.    The dough should have doubled in size. Lightly scrap the dough onto an oiled tray and dimple the top using your fingers. Proof again for another 30 mins.
8.    Brush the top with a little olive oil, place some rosemary sprigs into the dimples and sprinkle some salt on top.
9.    Turn the oven down to Gas Mark 7/425f/220c and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Homemade white bread and Focaccia bread made by me in pastry class.

Bake On!
Penny 
Bake On! Penny x
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