As you might already know, we’ve been chasing an anime series that revolves around bread-making, and we really like how the characters refer to yummy bread creations as ‘delicious bread’. Deeply inspired by this, I decided to make my very own delicious bread. W likes a good homemade bread any day, but turns out I’m the one with the warm hands. On the contrary, she has cold hands, which is perfect for pastry. You could imagine the disaster that occurs each time either of us attempts to ‘swap roles’: sticky pastry sheets and bread kneading that takes forever..
We’re working on that.
In any case, here’s how I make my ‘Delicious Bread’:
(Makes 2 batons)
- 500g strong bread flour
- 1 sachet instant yeast (7g)
- 55g caster sugar
- 1 tsp table salt
- 300g warmish water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- The best way to go about doing this is to first put in all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, starting with the flour, and then taking care to add in the salt on the opposite side of the yeast. (Salt retards yeast so you don’t like them mixing if you want soft bread.)
- Roughly mix up everything in the bowl.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour your water in, saving a little.
- Using a spatula, fork or fingers, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the well of water until a semi-solid state.
- Add the olive oil, and mix everything together as best as you can. (You’ll realise it might be a little difficult to get the last bits together, so this is when the little bit of water you set aside earlier on comes in handy.)
- After the dough comes together, tip it out onto your counter and knead away! Do so until the dough is smooth, before forming into a ball and plopping it back into the mixing bowl. It is extremely important to knead your dough well, the smooth the texture, the softer the bread.
- When done, cover the bowl with cling film, or a damp tea towel. And let it rise for 45 minutes.
- Prepare your baking tray/sheet by dusting with cornmeal or flour.
(after 45 minutes)
- Now, punch down the dough and take it out of the bowl.
- Form your dough into two batons of your liking. You can make them either into long skinny rolls or short chubby ones. I like keeping them unpredictable for W.
- Place your formed dough onto your prepared baking tray/sheet and place in a draft-free place for proving, for another hour.
(after 1 hour)
- Before baking, preheat your oven to 220ºC, with a tray of water at the bottom.
- Gently score the top of the batons with the sharpest knife in your kitchen.
- Bake them on the bottom rack for 10 minutes at 220ºC. Then, turn down the temperature to 180ºC and bake for a further 20-25 minutes, depending on the shape of your batons – chubbier ones take longer to cook through.
- Smell and smile.
- Let your bread cool on a cooling rack before eating, say about 30 minutes, but we never wait that long. Hurhur. Slice it, cut it, pinch it or bite straight into it; you know, it’s gonna be good.