White bread

RECIPE: Bread hates me. Actually, it’s yeast that gets my nose out of joint, but it’s most noticeable when I’m making bread. I’ve tried a few times and while it’s acceptable, it’s always a bit dense. When a friend with minimal bread-baking experience had some sucess with the recipe on the bread flour packet, I decided to give it a go myself. First loaf no good. Second loaf is the one shown above and described here. I gave it as much love as I could muster.

PREPARATION: Like most home bakers, I only have access to dried yeast. In this recipe, the yeast is left to soak in 40 degree water, and not leaving anything to chance, I selected a bowl and filled it with hot water, allowing the bowl to come to temperature and not adding the yeast until the water was exactly 40 degrees. I combined the yeast with the dry ingredients by hand, before using the dough hook on my stand mixer on medium speed for 10 minutes. I left the dough to rise for two hours, sitting next to my oven, which I had turned on to create some warmth (it’s early winter here – a bitter 18 degrees!! but still a bit cold for bread to rise efficiently). Once it had doubled in size (which it had done beautifully into a fluffy pillow of dough), I knocked it down and put it back in the mixer for another 10 minutes. Once finished I put it in my baking tin, and left it to rise again. After a time, the dough started billowing out of the top of the tin, I was worried it would spill over the sides, but it didn’t – only creating a ‘muffin top’. Once it looked like it had doubled in size, I gingerly placed it in the oven, scared that any tap on the tin would deflate my bread. It looked okay when it entered the oven, and then it flattened, losing all of it’s puff. The top of the loaf dropped to just over the top of the tin, and by the time it was baked was only a little better in rise than the loaf before it, where I had put nowhere near the same effort into obtaining a desirable rise.

IMPRESSIONS: I think it might be time for me to go and do a bread course. I achieved a slightly better rise than the loaf before it, but why did it deflate on me? It was acceptable bread, but not bread I’m proud of. And it needed a touch more salt.

Recipe from Defiance

500g Defiance White Baker’s Flour
1 tsp salt
8g Instant Dry Yeast
250-300mL lukewarm water (~40 degrees Celcius)
1tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp butter

In a bowl, combine yeast and 300mL water. Put aside for 10 minutes until foaming.

Sift together flour and salt into a bowl, stir in sugar and rub in butter.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add yeast liquid and combine to form a firm dough. Add extra water at this stage if required.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until elastic (about 10 minutes).

Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm position until the dough has doubled in size.

Knock back and knead until smooth (about 10 minutes).

Shape and place in a lightly greased tin. Cover and stanGd in a warm position until doubled in size.

Glaze with milk. Bake at 230 degrees Celcius for 30-40 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped on the base of the bread.

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