Portion/Yield:Makes 2 x 6oog loafs of bread
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. I also believe that you are never too old to learn new skills or improve the skills that you already have. A few years ago 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. 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.
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 also have chosen to use fresh yeast, there is nothing wrong with using dried yeast but if you can I recommend the fresh.
Ingredients & Method
- 750g organic strong white flour, Shipton Mill Type 55
- 15g fresh yeast (7g dried yeast)
- 15g salt
- 525ml water
Place the flour in a medium bowl, I prefer a metal round based bowl as it’s easy to manoeuvre.
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.
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.
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.
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)