Simple dough from bread class.

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong bread flour (can be a mixture of white and wholemeal, e.g. 300g White, 200g wholemeal)
  • 10g salt
  • 5g instant (easy-blend) yeast or 10g fresh yeast
  • 350g water, room temperature.

Tools:

  • Oven
  • Mixing bowl
  • Scales, preferably
  • or if not just be consistant in your measurements. As consistant as possible. Use the same cups etc.

Preferable but less important:

  • Plant mister (for oven steam)
  • Pizza/baking stone
  • Credit card or other plastic scraper

Summary of Method:

  • Mix ingredients
  • Work the dough, until supple and silky
  • Rest, 1-1.5hrs at room temp
  • Play
  • Divide and shape
  • Rest, 45mins
  • Bake, around 12mins (small loaves) or 24mins (big loaves)
  • Cool
  • Eat

Detailed Method:

Weigh everything (including the water). Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl then mix in the yeast. Add the water and mix into a rough dough making sure all the flour is hydrated (i.e. not loose and "floury"), scrape out of the bowl and onto a clean work surface. You can very lightly oil the surface before turning it the dough if you wish but it's not really necessary and neither is flouring the surface.

Work the dough by kneading or by your chosen method (Check out the book Dough, or Crust by Richard Bertinet). The dough will come cleanly away from the surface when it has been worked sufficiently and have a silky texture. Now put the dough back into a lightly oiled and/or floured mixing bowl and cover with a floured tea towel or oiled clingfilm. Allow to rest for 1-1.5hours at room temperature ,until approximately 1.5x original size. If you have a longer time to spare reduce the yeast to 3g or allow the dough to rise overnight in the fridge.

Turn your oven on as hot as it goes. Gently turn the dough out of the mixing bowl, helping with a plastic scraper if it sticks to the sides of the bowl. Divide the dough by cutting with the scraper or a knife if you want smaller loaves, weigh the pieces to ensure even sizes for even baking. Shape the dough gently taking care not to knock out the bubbles. Place the shaped loaf onto a generously floured baking tray or floured tea towel. Rest for 45mins, until almost doubled in size. Transfer to a floured baking tray if not already on it. flour the top of your loaf if you wish. With a sharp knife or preferably a razor blade, slash the top of the loaf a few times (Put your artistic skills to use if you want).

Get ready with a plant mister. As fast as possible; open the oven door, spray 10-15ish times into the oven, put in your loaf, spray 5 more times, close the oven door and start timing. If baking small loaves, approx 12 mins should be enough at 250 degrees C. If one large loaf, after 4mins, turn the oven temp down to 220 degrees and bake for further approx 20mins. Your loaf will be done when it is golden going on brown and looks delicious. Once done, take the loaf/loaves out and allow to cool (it's important) on a wire rack or similar until cool.

Eat. If you're keeping it do so wrapped in paper not plastic.

Note: Omit the misting if you don't have a mister! You can throw in about 100ml of hot water onto the bottom of the oven but watch out for the steam and if your oven breaks don't blame me! Otherwise just leave out the steaming. It make a nicer loaf though.

Comments

I can certainly vouch for

I can certainly vouch for the simplicity and sense of this method, but sadly haven't yet tasted any bread produced by it...so I'm withholding final judgment until I get my act together to bake bread a la Paul at home! I would also recommend checking out the books he mentions for his aggressive but very fun kneading technique, which involves stretching the bread by kind of treating it like a slingshot - you probably have to see it to have a clue what I'm talking about.

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