Farmhouse White Loaf
Baking bread is nothing new to me. My aunt lives on a farm and bakes bread everyday. As a child I loved visiting the farm, one of the very familiar aromas on the farm was the freshly baked bread.
My mother and uncle used to flip coins to decide who should have the crusty first slice of the warm baked bread. It used to make us laugh as mum used to get quite upset if she did not win . Those where the good old days with pleasurable memories.
In January of this year I went to Bath to participate in a one day bread baking course at The Bertinet Kitchen. After watching a video clip on the Internet of Richard Bertinet passionately demonstrating how bread should be baked, I thought that I could learn a thing or two from this master baker. Yes I was right, Richard is full of passion and the way he helped us to understand the dough was impressive. I love his theory that if you do not get the dough right you cannot bake bread, therefore his first book is called’ Dough’. The book also comes with a DVD that explains how you should work the dough. Well worth it if you are into baking bread.
Well I have baked a lot of bricks in my life but Richard deserves a big thank you for passing his passion on and helping me to understand how to make a good quality dough. Gourmet website has a fantastic video showing exactly how to master Richards technique.
One of my beliefs about food and cooking is that you should always use the best quality ingredients that you can afford. It’s no different when it comes to choose the right flour for my bread. I like to use organic Shipton Mill type 55 with a 10.7% protein content. I used Shipton Mill when I worked in the restaurants and was delighted to find out that I can now buy direct from them for home use. I also have chosen to use fresh yeast, there is nothing wrong with using dried yeast but if you can I recommend the fresh.
- 15g fresh yeast (7g dried yeast)
- 750g organic strong white flour, Shipton Mill Type 55
- 15g salt
- 525ml water (525g)
Place the flour in a medium bowl, I prefer a metal round based bowl as it's easy to manoeuvre.
Add the fresh yeast to the flour, rub the yeast into the flour with your fingertips. This stage should take about 3 - 4 minutes, ensure it's rubbed in completely.
Add the salt and mix it into the flour. Never let the salt get in direct contact with the yeast before it's rubbed in as the salt will kill the yeast and your dough will not rise.
Make a well in the flour and add the water. Normal tap water is fine, you do not need to add warm water as the heat from your hands will activate the yeast.
Use a plastic flexible scraper to assist you to work the water into the flour with long folding movements.
Once the water and flour is mixed turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Do not add any extra flour and do not kneed the dough either.
Use folding movements to work the dough. Pull the dough towards yourself and fold it over, continue these movements for about 6 - 7 minutes. The dough will become smooth, use a flexible plastic scraper to scrape any bits of dough that get stuck to the table.
Once the dough is worked into a smooth ball place the dough into a greased bowl and cover it with a clean tea towel.
Let the dough prove for approximalty 40 -45 minutes until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease two bread 6" x 4" x 2.5"loaf tins
Gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface use your fingertips to spread the dough, be gentle do not bash the dough as you have worked very hard to work air into the dough. Once the dough is spread into a rectangle fold the one side over towards the middle followed by the other side. This reinforce the spine or back bone of the dough.
Divide the dough in two even size pieces. Place a piece of dough in each prepared loaf tin, cover lightly with a clean tea towel.
Let the dough rest until double in size.
When the dough is ready to go in the oven use a sharp knife to make incisions on the crust.
Dust with flour and place the farmhouse loafs in the preheated oven and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. To test if the loaf is cooked, turn the loaf out of the tin and tap the bottom, if it sounds hollow the loaf is cooked.
Let the loafs rest for 5 minutes in the tins before turning the loafs out and cool on a cooling rack.
Makes 2 x 6oog loafs of bread
Food Fanatics Tips
Richard taught us that if you weigh the water instead of using a measuring jug you get a more accurate measure.Note- Water,either weighed or measured is the same value.(i.e. 100gms is the same as 1oomls)