Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Bread

I've been experimenting with bread-making on and off for years, but somehow never quite managed to make the perfect loaf ~ until today.  I found a recipe for French Bread online quite some time ago, but it seemed so complicated that I abandoned the idea.  Then, when I made it recently, it came out heavy and unappetising, so I decided to change the recipe and make it my way.  These two loaves are the results.


The best part of the changes that I made is that the bread takes very little effort on my part.  I also adjusted the salt content, as I felt that it contained far too much.  If you are looking for a good recipe for French Bread, you may like to give this a try.  Not only does it taste good, but it also fills the kitchen with a delicious aroma.  Happy baking!

French Bread

12 fl oz water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp dried milk powder
16 oz all-purpose (plain) flour
16 oz bread flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast

I used a bread machine on dough setting to mix all the ingredients.  This takes two hours, but once I've measured everything out, I can walk away and forget about it.  After two hours, I removed the dough from the pan and kneaded it lightly, divided it into two and formed loaf shapes, scoring the top with a sharp knife.  I placed the loaves on a baking sheet and covered with a clean cloth and left them until they had doubled in size.  (You can make baguettes if you prefer, but I find it difficult to roll out the dough).

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C, gas mark 6).  Place a dish of boiling water on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake the loaves until they are brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Mine took about 20-25 minutes.

If you want it more crusty, I think that you need to reduce the oven temperature after 15 minutes of baking.  Lower the heat to 350 F (180 C, gas mark 4) and bake for a further 25 minutes.  (I forgot to do this, as I was busy with other things!)

Apologies for measurements in Imperial, but the original was in cups and it was the easiest way to convert it.