Baking bread is so therapeutic and gives a lot of satisfaction! But still there are times while being lazy I just keep on postponing to bake a loaf until Apoorva threatens to buy from the shop. Then immediately my inner super health conscious mom wakes up and I start taking out ingredients from the fridge and keep praying that power should be there till my loaf is baked.
I always prefer to do wheat flour bread, but sometimes I go for white sandwich bread also and sometimes with half wheat flour and half all purpose flour bread. All purpose flour is not healthy, but I really doubt if we can completely avoid it. And baking bread at home is preservative free, so occasionally we can use all purpose flour.
One day suddenly Manish had a craving for toasted bread with butter. So this time I decided to use my recipe of plain buns with wheat flour and maida for bread too. I didn’t change anything in the recipe, and after first proofing of the dough, instead of dividing it into buns, I gave it a shape of bread loaf. Bread came out really well and as it was not a big sized loaf, so got over in two days. I really hate keeping bread in the fridge for more than two days because I start getting a felling that it is occupying space in the fridge. So my preference is to do a small loaf, finish it fast and bake again something fresh….!!!!!
All purpose flour 1+1/2 cup
Wheat flour 1+1/2 cup
Milk powder 1/4th cup
Yeast 1+1/2 tsp
Sugar 2 tbsp
Salt 1+1/2 tsp
Water (milk+water mix) 2 cups minus 2 tbsp
Oil/butter 1+1/2 tbsp
Collect all dry ingredients together in a big vessel. Remember all ingredients should be at room temperature.
Prepare water or water + milk mix at slightly warmer than lukewarm temperature. Cold water will not activate the yeast and too hot will kill the yeast, so be careful here.
Slowly start pouring water over the dry ingredients and start collecting them together in shape of a dough. Don’t worry about loose or tight consistency of dough at this stage.
Now slowly start pouring the remaining water and start kneading the dough for 15 minutes. Do not use the entire water written in the recipe because your variety of flour might not need it completely, as absorbing quality of liquid differs in different types of flours. Here we need slightly wet dough which should be little loose than chapati dough.
Initially, kneading will appear messy, but slowly with continuous kneading, dough will become smooth.
Now add butter/oil in it, knead once again for five minutes and your smooth shiny dough will be ready!
Keep the dough in an oil greased bowl for first proofing (bowl should be big enough to have extra space for doubled up dough). Apply some oil on top of the dough to avoid it drying.
Cling wrap the bowl and keep the bowl at a warm place for first proofing.
I generally keep my bowl in a switched-off microwave. First proofing takes 1 to 1+ 1/2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
Once dough doubles up, sprinkle some flour on kitchen counter or grease it with oil. Take out the dough and punch it softly.
Knead the dough very softly and spread the dough in a rectangular shape, according to the size of the bread tin.
Start rolling it tightly in the shape of a log.
Seal the seam side-by-side by pinching it.
Grease bread tin with oil and keep this log into the tin by keeping the seamed side at the bottom.
Apply oil on top of the log to avoid it drying and cover it with another bigger sized tin (I find bigger sized bread tin more convenient to cover for second proofing) and again keep it in the switched off microwave or any warm place for second proofing. Second proofing generally gets over in 15 to 20 minutes.
Just 10 minutes before baking, preheat your oven at 185 degrees for 10 minutes. Apply milk with pastry brush on second-time-proofed dough and bake it in a preheated oven for 30 – 40 minutes at 180 degrees or until the top of the bread sounds hollow.
A very common problem in bread /buns baking people face is that their bread remains soft from inside but the top becomes very hard – so how to avoid it…..??
Once you get the desired brown colour of the bread, stop baking and cover the bread with almuniun foil (only bread, not the tin) and continue baking. This process is called tenting.
Once bread is baked completely, take it out from the oven, apply butter on it for nice shine and to keep it soft. After ten minutes with the help of knife clean the edges around the tin and take out your beautiful loaf and keep it on a cooling rack.
Don’t leave bread for a longer period in the baking tin. Inside the tin, heat will not be able to pass through, so this will create moisture and the bottom of the bread will become soggy. After taking out the bread on a cooling rack let it cool down completely, wrap it in a cling film with two three layers and keep it in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours, so that crumbs will settle down nicely. Finally slice the loaf with sharp serrated knife and fall in love with your homebaked beautiful slices of bread and have a happy dance…. 💃💃💃💃