Bread has been the staple diet of everyone since mankind evolved.Every region of the world has some kind of bread exclusive and native to its name.There are so many kinds of unique breads around the world that listing them on this page will mean testing the patience of many of my beloved readers which is why I have included the Wikipedia link of the same here.
There are 5 main components of a basic bread:
- Flour – ranging from all-purpose to multigrain to cassava bread is made with all the flours possible!
- Yeast – this is the main ingredient to make the bread rise.It depends on the region and type of bread whether the recipe demands it or not.In Indian breads like Roti,Poori and Paratha,there is no using of yeast.Bhatura is a bread which uses yogurt as a ferment!Irish Soda Bread requires soda bicarb for an instant rise.Some breads are allowed to ferment with alcohol like Beer or Stout!
- Lubricants included in the dough – Oil/Butter or Shortening.Indian breads use Ghee – clarified butter!
- Additional Ingredients – Salt/sugar/herbs/fruits(as in Banana Bread)/nuts/seeds!
- Cooking medium – oven,stovetop or even the ground for even baking!
I am posting the recipe of a basic White,Sandwich bread which is the common breakfast in 80% households in the world.The bread is used in various ways like French Toast,Bread Pudding,Toast or Upma in India.I would want to introduce all the ingredients descriptively for novices in bread making so that they can go about making it more easily!
In Western Countries we have what is known as Bread Flour.It has more protein content than the normal All Purpose flour and thus used.But its difficult to find in India and can be very expensive if sourced online.But there is a simple solution for it – Potato Starch!This has needed protein and makes plain flour into an excellent bread flour.The bread would be soft,light and rise beautifully while baking!Here is a link from where you could source an inexpensive but quality perfect Potato Starch.
The soft and white texture inside…
Yeasts are micro-organisms of the fungicidal categories and are safe for consumption.There are various kinds of yeast namely:
- Fresh yeast
This kind is a very soft and moist yeast which has to be refrigerated and taken out whenever needed.It is highly perishable and used by professionals.This kind of yeast has a very less shelf life.
Dry yeast is fresh yeast which is dried to an extent that it can be stored safely and used whenever needed.It is inactive until mixed with lukewarm water(NOT hot).This also has sub types:
- Active(Regular Dry Yeast) – The one pretty much available in all general stores!
- Rapid Rise Yeast – A strong type which gives faster results again sub-classified as
A fast rising yeast which is added directly to the flour and then proven.No need to pre soak it in lukewarm water.
A wonderful Instant Yeast!
b)Bread Machine Yeast
Many of you would know that there are bread machines exclusively available which are used by bread lovers as they do all the kneading and proofing work!This kind of yeast works perfect for bread makers!
Information from the site – asweetpeachef.com
- A LUBRICANT FOR THE BREAD
This would be like any Oil,Butter,Margarine or Shortening!The best bet is to use unsalted butter but if you use the salted one then omit the salt.Indian Breads use clarified butter also called “ghee”!
- ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS
These form the “theme” for what the recipe calls for.Fruits,nuts,seeds or even marzipan(referring to a German Bread called Stollen)!Milk powder is one ingredient which is added for the “white” texture of the loaf!
See this Bread!A wonderful golden crust,super soft interior with many “holes” thanks to the yeast and a great shape!These are the characteristics of homemade bread – none like this found in bakeries and stores!
The same recipe can be used to make dinner rolls or the Indian version “Pav”.Its just depends on how you roll out the shapes!
Lets see how to make it now!
Preparation Time : 1 hour
Proving Time : 30 minutes
Baking Time – 40 minutes
Makes ; 1 loaf of 600 gms
350 gms or 2 1/2 cups plain flour(maida)
50 gms or 1/2 cup Potato Starch(see notes)
1/2 cup milk powder
2 tsp Regular Active Dry Yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water (NOT HOT PLEASE)
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp powdered sugar
4 tbsp butter at room temperature(unsalted/salted)
Dry flour for kneading
Around 1/2 cup filtered water kept in the refrigerator for 10 minutes
1 tbsp Oil(whatever you like)
For brushing on top:
1 egg beaten(optional) OR
2 tbsp warm milk(optional) OR
2 tbsp ice cold water
NOTE : If you do not have Potato Starch or milk powder you can leave them out.The bread will still turn out delicious and crusty!These two ingredients give texture and a “snow white” colour to the bread respectively!
Prepare the loaf pan:
Use a non stick pan preferably for best results.If not using a non stick pan,spray it with baking spray or grease with butter or oil.Then sprinkle flour inside the whole of the pan and tap off excess.Keep aside till ready for baking.
Activate the Yeast:
Put the yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar in the water and leave undisturbed for 15 – 20 minutes till creamy and foamy.
Prepare the dough:
The first rolling and proofing:
Add the flour,potato starch,salt,sugar and milk powder in a large bowl.mix well with a whisk.Make a well in the centre and add the yeast.Start mixing gradually and add enough cold water to mix into a slightly sticky dough.Be very careful not to add all the water all at once.See if you need all of it as sometimes this depends on the quality of flour.Knead for around 15 minutes till the dough becomes very smooth and cleans the sides of the bowl.
NOTE – Initially for those new to bread making this might look impossible.Believe me it will and you need to have faith and patience for the job.
Add the butter and knead thoroughly incorporating the butter into the dough till silky smooth and elastic. Oil a deep bowl and keep the dough in it.Flip it over to cover completely with a thin film of Oil.This will prevent the dough forming a crusty layer while proving.Cover the bowl with a piece of cling wrap dusted with some flour and keep it in a warm place to rise for around 40 minutes till it doubles in size.
The second rolling:
After the dough has risen to double,punch down the dough and knead again this time on your countertop.Sprinkle with a little dry flour and knead with the heel of your palms(near the wrist) in a rolling motion.Press the dough with your palms into a rough rectangle and pat thoroughly to release all air bubbles.Fold all the sides into the centre like an envelope and seal the joints.
The shaping and second proofing:
Now roll the dough roughly into a cylinder approximately the shape of your loaf pan.Place the rolled bread in the pan and cover with flour sprinkled cling wrap.Leave to prove for 30 – 35 minutes or till doubled in size.
Brush the top of the bread with beaten egg or warm milk or ice cold water.Bake for 40 minutes till the top is a beautiful golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.
The beautiful golden brown crust….
Take out on a wire rack and let the bread come to room temperature.Serve with butter,jam or cheese spread.
Served with Butter and hot Coffee….
- Day old bread can be used to make pudding,toast or can be dried for breadcrumbs.
- The same dough can be used for making Dinner Rolls/Pav/Sweet Buns(add 2 tbsp extra sugar)
Fresh and Pillow Soft Pav with a lovely crust…