Thursday, September 29, 2016

Everyday Bread...

Baking bread at home is easy and simple. Flour, water, salt and a leavening agent are the ingredients needed to make a bread and are easily available, The most commonly used leavening agent is yeast. I use active dry yeast, that's the easiest option for any home baker.

I love freshly baked bread and hence I bake often at home. I thoroughly enjoy the process of bread making, from mixing, kneading, rising to baking and serving it to my family. Previously I used to knead the dough by hand, which is of course time consuming and laborious. Last year I got a gift from my husband, a KitchenAid stand mixer, and my bread making ventures are thus more frequent and with ease.

Not only kneading the dough, the KitchenAid stand mixer works wonder for so many other recipes. Cake, cookies, biscuits, scones, whipping cream, making buttercream the list is quite long. I have an artisan stand mixer with tilt head and 4.8 L mixing bowl. It is so easy to use, I consider it as the most prized possession in my kitchen.

While making bread at home, make sure you use proper measuring cups and spoons. To begin yeast is the best choice as a leavening agent. Gradually with practice, beer, buttermilk, or in advance baking mode one can use sourdough starter to make bread. Handling yeast is not that difficult as it seems. Use good quality active dry yeast and every time proof the yeast to make sure the yeast is alive or your dough won't rise. Depending on the temperature of the place, proofing and rising time varies, so practice to understand the nature of the yeast being used and the best time and place for proofing and rising.

If you do not have a stand mixer that's not a problrm, I used to knead the dough by hand for so many years. Yes, of course a stand mixer makes the job easier but the fun of kneading dough by hand is beyond words. Feeling the dough as you turn, pull, rotate is such a pleasure. You can ask your kids to join you, that adds to the fun.

Rising the dough in a moderately warm place is always advised. Here in Kolkata the temperature and humidity is pretty high and the dough rises pretty quickly. If you are living is much colder place then place the dough in one of the corner of your kitchen or place it inside the oven (switched off) with the oven light on.

It's advised to keep the dough to rise in a place where the temperature is constant.

A fully risen dough is always a pretty sight for any home baker. But make sure not to over proof the dough. As the dough doubles in size start working with it.

While working with the dough try to use as little as flour possible. just to dust the working surface and to dust your hand from sticking to the dough.

Shaping the dough is a step I enjoy much. This time I made a milk bread which is great for breakfast. It can be shaped as a loaf or a rough round as I did. For some reason I prefer a round bread than a rectangular loaf.

Things needed to make Milk Bread:

(makes two loaves)

  • All purpose flour: 6 cups
  • Yeast: 1 tbsp
  • Water: 1/4 cup
  • Milk: 2 and 1/2 cup
  • Butter (melted): 3 tbsp
  • Sugar: 1/4 cup
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Flour to dust
  • Butter or oil to grease

Steps of making Milk Bread:

1. In the bowl of the stand mixer add yeast, sugar and warm water. The water should be warm, not hot. Mix well, let the yeast proof.

2. As the liquid bubbles, add 2 cups of flour, warm milk, salt, sugar, melted butter and mix it on low speed with the hook attachment on. If you are doing it by hand, mix it with a spatula. Gradually add flour one cup at time and mix over low speed, scraping the sides in between. Once all the flour is incorporated increase the speed to 4-6 and knead for 4-5 min. The dough may cling to the hook attachment, use a spatula to scrape it down. If you need to know how to knead dough with hand, check my focaccia recipe.

3. Take a large deep bowl, grease it with oil or melted butter. Place the dough in the bowl. I prefer using a large glass bowl, I find it easier to measure the amount dough is rising. Turn the dough to coat with the oil or butter, cover the bowl with a cling wrap and let it rise for 1-2 hour or till the dough doubles.

4. When the dough doubles in size, plop it on a flour dusted working surface and divide the dough into two equal halves. Work with one dough at time, cover the other one.

5. Gently press the dough to make a flat circle. Take a part from the outer part and tuck it in to the center, turn the dough a little and repeat. This way you will end up to a round dough. the tuck in side in will be the underside of the bread. Turn the dough gently, with the palm of your hand cup the dough and shape gently. Work with the other dough the same way.

6. Place the shaped dough on a parchment paper. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let to rise to double in size.

7. While the dough is rising place a baking sheet in the middle rack of your oven and pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F.

8. After the dough rises carefully hold the parchment paper and place the dough on the baking sheet inside the pre-heated oven.

9. Bake at 180 C for 30-35 min.

10. Take out the bread and let it cool down in a cooling rack. Slice only after it's completely cooled down, enjoy with butter, jam, spreads. To store keep in an air tight container for 2-3 days in refrigerator.

If you like to get regular updates from me go to my Facebook page and click on the Like button. You can also follow me on Twitter (@Kcolorandspices) and Instagram (@colorandspices) Thank you..!!!

1 comment:

  1. Baked beautifully, this bread is really tempting. Wish I can bake as great as you.