My Bread (another self-isolation post)

Week 6 and here we are again, still isolated with fuck all to do, pardon my French. Not to anyone’s surprise, I guess, I jumped on the bread baking train and dedicated myself over the past 2 weeks to developing the perfect loaf for me, to share with you. What does that mean? Well it means it’s cheap to make, relatively easy since I’m no bread baker myself, and the ingredients are easy to find since I don’t have a car to be travelling to speciality shops and what not. Also, it’s not sourdough! I know sourdough is beautiful, challenging, healthy and freaking delicious, but I don’t have any damn starter or mother dough or whatever you wanna call it, and feeding dough sounds weird to me, sorry! Also takes too damn long, I know I’m at home all day but I don’t have that much patience.

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So this recipe devoloped from a traditional Portuguese roll recipe mixed with tips from the homemade white bread recipe from The flavor bender. Please do follow that link if you want some really good photos on how your bread is supposed to look in each stage of the baking. Also, I will be making this recipe step by step on my instragram tomorrow, so that’s that if you want to check it out.

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Important notes for this bread are:

  • Make sure you use the exact quantity of yeast, not less. Less yeast and it will not rise enough to be fluffy.
  • Make sure that the yeast is also in date. Old yeast won’t raise the bread. You should know the yeast is good to go, if when activated there’s foam production on top of the water.
  • When activating it in the warm sugary water, that’s warm water, not boiling not cold. Too extreme temperatures and the yeast is gonna work.
  • Mix the salt into the flour before adding anything else. If too much salt touches the yeast water at the same time it will kill some of the yeast and then it won’t raise that much.
  • Don’t worry if you need to add a little bit more flour to get the dough to come off the sides of the bowl or unstick to your fingers. Add it little by little so you don’t overdo it, and it will be fine.
  • If you’re using a mixer, you might need to use a spatula to clean the bottom and sides of the bowl before adding more flour. I did that, and saved me adding more flour because I had some stuck at the bottom that wasn’t reaching the dough.
  • Time the raising time. Do it, and you can relax without having to be looking at it. 5minutes more won’t kill it, but not enough time to raise and the dough will be more dense and less fluffy.
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Alright, I guess that’s all that is. There we go to the recipe!

Yield: 1 large loaf

Prep – 10 minutes ; Raising – 90 minutes; Baking – 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 600g of Plain Flour + a little extra as necessary (AP Flour or Bread Flour also ok)
  • 15g of salt
  • 20g of Dry Yeast
  • 15g of Caster Sugar
  • 400ml of Warm Water
  • 2 Tbsp or 30ml of Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil + a little extra as necesary

Method:

  1. If you are using a stand mixer use the mixer bowl, if you aren’t, use a regular large bowl. Add the flour and salt to it, and mix until combined.
  2. In another bowl, mix the yeast, sugar and warm water. Let activate for 5minutes. It should develop a foam on top, similar to the top of a draught beer, and smell like yeast too.
  3. Add the yeast water and oil to the flour bowl.
  4. Using the hook attachment or your hands, mix the dough until it’s a cohesive soft ball that doesn’t stick to your hands, or stops sticking to the sides of the bowl. This shouldn’t take long, roughly 5min.
  5. Sprinkle a clean surface with a bit of flour, and drop the dough from the bowl there. Gently knead the dough to make sure it’s all well combined, and form into a ball. There’s no need to knead a lot here, just make sure it’s an uniform ball and it should be fine.
  6. Lightly coat the mixer bowl with olive oil and add the dough ball.
  7. Cover with a dry cloth and let rest for 45minutes until it doubles/triples in size.
  8. Spray your baking tray with non-stick spray or olive oil, and line it with parchment paper. I find useful to make 2 strips, like you see in the picture, to help me lift the loaf from the tray while it’s still hot.
  9. Sprinkle a little flour into a clean surface and drop the dough into it.
  10. Flaten it into a square/rectangle roughtly the width of your baking tray.
  11. Using your fingers, roll the dough onto it’s short side (like a swiss roll) making sure to tighly press the seem into the dough.
  12. Repete until you have a roll of dough.
  13. Add to the baking tray, seam side down.
  14. Cover with your dry cloth and let rise for another 45minutes.
  15. 10minutes before the time is up, pre-heat your oven to 220 C.
  16. When the time is up and the dough has raised again in the baking tray, make small cuts on top of the dough whatever direction you want.
  17. Bake for 20minutes. My oven temperature is a bit uneven, so I turn the tray half-way onto the baking time.
  18. When it’s done, take off the oven. Let cool for 5minutes and then take out of the baking tray into a cooling rack.
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And voila! You have bread!

I couldn’t really wait for mine to cool down, so I just put some butter on it while hot and I don’t regret it. It was delicious! Since this is an homemade bread, you do need to freeze it if it’s going to last more than 1 day after baking. Personally, once it cooled down, I sliced it all, wrapped it in tin foil and put it in the freezer. Once I’m ready to have a slice, I take one or two out, toast it and done!

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It’s so simple and nothing to be scared off. I did make a few mistakes over the tries to make this bread, so if it’s not perfect the first time, please do try again. Once you are comfortable with the different stages of the dough and how it feels in your hands, it does become more intuitive and easy to get a good loaf out of. I will be mixing the dough with other ingredients over the weekend, in my case, I’m going to add some onion and cheese right at the last stage of raising, and see what I get.

If you do make this recipe, please DM me. I’d love to see the results! As always check my instastories if you want to see me baking it!

Stay home, stay safe and stay sane everybody!

Cheers,
Mafalda

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