These past few days, I’ve seen a jaw too many drop promptly to the floor every time I say anything about baking bread at home. For a country of people that buy their bread in plastic packets from the corner grocer, baking bread at home is either ridiculously unnecessary or impossibly complex.  This video is for my friends from both these categories.

When I started baking, I quickly realized that baking bread is far, far more therapeutic than baking anything from the cake or cookie category. Not only is it a healthy and convenient preparation for the family to enjoy, but it is also a wonderful way to stimulate the senses of touch and smell. I find that some of the best ideas and most sensible solutions come to me when I’m happily kneading my dough, inhaling the rich, comforting aroma of yeast, oblivious to the world outside my kitchen. And today, I invite you to the magic show.

Bread from My Jhola on Vimeo.

One of my favorite breads is a simple white loaf that is easy to make, always turns out great, and is comforting in the way it is made and the way it is eaten.

Easy bread making video recipe
Ingredients:

  • 500 gms. all purpose flour
  • 15 gms. fresh yeast
  • 10 gms. sugar
  • 5 gms. salt
  • 15 gms. fat
  • ½ a beaten egg (optional)
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (plus more, as required)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade.
  2. Place the yeast and sugar in a cup or beaker and pour on some lukewarm water (about a cup) and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes.
  3. Place the flour in a large basin.
  4. Once the yeast is frothy, pour the liquid into the flour and knead. Add the beaten egg (if using) and transfer to a large work surface like your kitchen counter. Continue to knead until you have to a soft and pliable dough, adding more water as required.
  5. Cream the fat and salt together and work into the dough. Knead again until you have a smooth and soft dough.
  6. Transfer to a greased bowl or basin and cover with moist muslin or cling wrap and leave in a warm place (like on top of your oven) for about 20 minutes or until double in size.
  7. Knock back the dough and knead lightly once more.
  8. Shape as desired and place on a greased and floured baking sheet (or on parchment) and prove again, for 20 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle some water on the loaf and adorn with choice of topping.
  10. Bake for about half an hour until browned to your liking.
  11. Remove and immediately brush with fat. Allow to cool completely before slicing.
  12. Eat, dunked in rich stews, or toasted and slathered with butter and preserves.

Note:

  • For a very soft crust, like for dinner rolls, brush with milk before baking and do not brush with anything after.
  • For a shiny, even gold, slightly chewy crust, brush with beaten egg before baking and do not brush with anything after.
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