“I would like to correct a misconception about bread baking right up front: you do not need to beat up your dough. Rather, the gentle mixing method used here assures maximum flavor, because flavour-bearing pigments in the flour don’t dissipate as they do with prolonged mixing.
Another misconception about bread baking is that it requires a big time commitment. This is only half right: you do need to be around in order to take care of the various steps, but none of the individual steps is actually time-consuming. Because I’ve designed these recipes using the one-step process, these are breads to bake and eat in one day, unlike their artisan cousins, which can take four or five days to create.” – Nick Malgieri
Anyway, one of my kitchen project for 2012 is to improve my bread making skill (sans bread making machine, nor a mixer like KitchenAid). There are good and cheap bread and rolls here in Luanda, so I’ve been slacking a lot on this front. But last spring, I went to a bread making course in Franschhoek and so I want to get back on the wagon. Afterall, H’s little Tia (little aunt) is a famous bread maker in the whole kampong!
I’ve tried numerously made bread in the past, but unless I stuff it with loads of cheese and ham, H has no interest. It’s too hard, too tough, too dry, not having enough bubbles. In another words, my breads suck big time. The kind of bread that turns into rock after a day. So last weekend, I tried on Nick Malgieri’s one step bread dough. The best part is no kneading!
I have to say it was a great sucess! They were chewy but not too much. A little smell from the supermarket yeast, but when I froze the extras over night (they can be easily heated up right before eating, see more below), the smell disappeared! Even H said my bread was better than his mom’s. Woot woot!!! You just gotta try making one.
ONE STEP BREAD DOUGH
from Bake! Essential techniques for perfect baking by Nick Malgieri
makes 800 g dough
475 g bread flour
1.5 tsp non iodized salt or fine sea salt
7g active dried yeast
315 ml warm tap water, about 38 C – see note below
1 tbsp Olive oil plus 1/2 tsp for oiling the bowl
- Mix the flour and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.
- in a large bowl, whisk the yeast into water. Wait 30 secs then whisk again to make sure all the yeast is dissolved. Whisk in the oil.
- Use a large rubber spatula to mix in half the flour to make a paste. Add the half of flour in the bowl and mixing it in by repeatedly digging down to the bottom of the bowl and folding upward, towards the center. Add the remaining flour and repeat the folding motion until all the flour is absorbed and there are no dry bits stuck to the side of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl with clean tea towel (not terry cloth!) or clingfilm and let the dough rest for 10-15 mins.
- Repeat the digging and folding motion using a clean rubber spatula for the second time. Cover and let it rest for another 10-15 mins.
- Lightly oil a bowl large enough to hold twice the quantity of the dough you now have and set aside. I used a big pot to boil my pasta.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flour your hands and pat the dough into a rough rectangle. Fold one of the narrow ends of the dough over the middle, then fold the other end over to make 3 layers. Turn the dough 90 degrees so that the folded side is facing you and repeat the folding. Invert the dough into the oiled bowl and cover it with tea towel or clingfilm. Let the dough rest for 15 mins, then repeat the folding.
- Lightly oil the bowl again if necessary and put the dough back into the bowl. Turn the dough so that the top is oiled. Cover with clingfilm and let it rise until it has doubled in size, 45 mins to 1 hour.
- The dough is ready to be used or baked.
Note: I always got my water too hot and I didn’t know that it could kill the yeast. So during my bread making course, I finally dipped my finger to get a sense of how warm the water should be. But Meesh passed me a great tip which I tried with this bread. The water should be on a temperature where you can dip your finger for few seconds without shrieking in pain.
Variation 1: SEEDED TWIST
Yield 2 loaves
1 recipe of One-step bread dough
handful of white sesame seeds (or black)
water to brush the bread
- Preheat oven to 190 C.
- Divide the risen dough in half and round each piece separately. Cover and let rest for 10 mins.
- Take one ball of a dough and roll each piece to about 50 cm. Stop and cover the dough and let it rest for 10 mins if needed – but I skip this one. I’m impatient that way.
- Position the dough parallel to edge of work surface and twist the opposite ends 2 or 3 times in opposite direction at the same time.
- Transfer to a baking tray already lined with parchment paper. Brush/ paint the loaf with water. Sprinkle with white sesame seeds (or black ones). Let the extra sesame seeds to fall onto the paper.
- Bake for 30 mins.
Note: The seeded twist is a bit too pale to my brown eyes. So if the colour also offends you, brush the top with some egg wash, instead of water.
Variation 2: TIGER ROLLS (aka Dutch Crunch Rolls), popular in the Netherlands & UK
Yield 12 rolls
1 recipe of One-step bread dough
7 g active dried yeast
75 ml warm water, about 38 C
2.5 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp olive or vegetable oil
65 g rice flour
- Turn the risen dough onto a floured work surface without folding it over on itself or deflating it too much. Pull into a rough rectangles. Cut into 12 equal pieces.
- Round each piece under the cupped palm of your hand on a clean flour-free work surface. Arrange the rolls on the prepared tin, cover with clean tea towel and set aside.
- For the topping, whisk the yeast into the warm water and then whisk in the remaining ingredients one at a time. Cover the bowl and set aside for 15 mins.
- After 15 mins, stir it down and even it spread with the back of a spoon or a small palette knife. Don’t overload with topping or it will puddle underneath.
- Let the rolls continue to rise, uncovered, until they doubled in size about 45 mins to 1 hour.
- About 20 mins before the loaf is risen, preheat oven to 190 C.
- Bake for 25-30 mins.
Now, when you make all these wonderful bread, you know you’re not going to finish in one sitting. I come from a country where we just don’t freeze bread. Who does that anyway? Up till I met a young (at that time) English guy who literally lives on frozen sliced bread. He fed me several slices when I was sleeping over on his sofa.
For these bread and rolls, I put them in a ziplock and froze them on the same day they were baked. When I want to serve them in the morning, I just pop them into an oven set on 180 C and bake for about 5-10 mins. The loaf took longer time than the rolls. But they will taste as good as new, I promised.
That on the photo was H, eating my beloved bread with the yogurt cheese I was road testing for the first time. I’m going to buy more yogurt and share with you the secret of making an affordable, light cheese.
Have a good weekend everyone. I love it that today is a public holiday and a well rested man means a man singing while scrubbing the toilet (while I’m blogging) 😉