Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making bread at home

Some time back I found an interesting recipe for a crusty white bread so I thought I would try it.   I am stunned at how well it works and how forgiving it is.   The bread I get at the end of the process is better than most of the average breads I can buy in the stores and bakeries.

Here is my recipe:
  • 750 ml hot water 
  • 10-12 grams of yeast
  • 10-12 grams of salt
  • 900 grams of flour, I have been using 600 grams whole wheat and 300 grams white
The oven set up I use
  • Bloom the yeast in the water.
  • Add the yeast and water to the flour and salt.  
  • Stir till the flour is combined - this will be a wet bread dough.
  • Do not knead the dough, just dump it in a bin to rise - if using your hands make them wet when handling the dough
  • Let rise for 12 to 18 hours
  • Punch down and divide into two loaves and let them rise for half an hour to an hour - use wet hands for this
  • Heat your oven to 440ish Fahrenheit with two pizza stones and a bowl of water 
  • Sprinkle a pizza peel with some cornmeal and then drop a loaf on the peel, push it into the oven, repeat for the other loaf  (If you do not have a pizza peel, I recommend buying one, they are only about $25 and we have found it important for anything we do on the pizza stones)
  • Bake for 45 minutes to 50 minutes.
Points to know
  • A wetter dough tends to be better than a drier dough - I had some drier doughs that ended up dense
  • An all white dough will be very light and fluffy
  • Punching down and rising and then punching down and making loaves will give you more even holes
What I like about this recipe is:
  • The bread is amazing
  • The actual work time involved is short - maybe ten minutes of your time.  I can make the dough while having breakfast and bake the loaves after dinner.

The cost is about 35 cents a loaf.   In the store a similar bread will sell for $3 to $4.   At 8 loaves a week, I am about $25 ahead by making this bread.
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