Basic Bread Formula
I would like to introduce the bread making process with this basic formula, instead of a formal recipe. For my opening to this bountiful subject, here is some background information before arriving on the tried and tested, well-loved recipes.
100% Strong Plain Flour
65% Liquids (Water, milk etc)
1.5% Fresh Yeast (half, 0.75% if using dried yeast)
Activate yeast with warm water between 32-35C, around body temperature.
Salt is very important in bread making, it lifts the flavour from bland to something delightful.
Butter, olive oil or vegetable oil is commonly added to enrich and soften bread.
Sugar is regularly used to feed yeast, but you are not limited to just sugar. Black treacle, golden syrup and honey can also be used and will affect the flavour of your loaf.
In my Blog, I use only dried yeast. But if you are using a fresh yeast, double the quantity.
Dried yeast 10g = Fresh yeast 20g
If you want a crust on your bread, steam is needed, so spray the oven with water before baking or you can place a baking tray at the base of the oven and add a few ice cubes.
Plait (Such as Vienna baguette or Challah Bread etc)
( 4 plaits )
2nd over 3
4th over 2
1st over 3 repeat
If you are in a cold environment, it may take longer to prove the dough and so in contrast, if you are in a hot environment, it may take less time to double in size.
This bread can be conveniently frozen, so it may be worth your while to bake few batches. The frozen loaf can be removed from the freezer the night before. I like to warm the bread, wrapped with foil, at 160C for 10 minutes and leave it in the oven for further 5 minutes. The residual heat will keep it warm.