Have you ever tried baking bread at home?
If no, then you must definitely try it once. It’s so addictive, it’s magical, it’s therapeutic , it calms you down, it gives amazing joy and when you get wonderful slice from homebaked bread, you are forced to bake again and again!!!!!!
And the best part of baking bread is that it’s a great learning experience. We always learn from every single bake.
But still if you are slightly hesitant to try bread, my personal suggestion is to try baking buns first…. baking buns will boost your confidence.. and you will be ready to graduate to baking bread. I have few recipes for buns in my blog – you can try them…Spicy buns with cumin seeds and red chilli powder, Plain Buns with wheat flour + maida and Tea time Wheat Flour Buns with pizza spices.
When I started my learning lessons to bake bread, I started with all purpose flour (maida). I agree with you all that all purpose flour is not healthy. But I got immense confidence once I got perfect bread of loaf with maida. And if you are too strict with your eating habits, you can gift your maida breads to your house helps, neighbors, relatives or can take to your work place to get lots of appreciation!!!!!
Maida 3+1/2 cup
Milk powder 1/8 cup
Instant dry yeast 1+1/2 tsp (Gloripan brand)
Salt 1+1/2 tsp
Sugar 1+1/2 tbsp
Oil /butter 2 tbsp
Water/Milk 1+1/2 cup
First proofing time (kept outside) 80 minutes (1 hour 10 minutes)
Second proofing…. 1/2 an hour
Dough can be kneaded only with lukewarm water or can be with half milk and half water. Milk keeps your bread soft and I always knead bread dough with lukewarm milk and water mix.
In a big size vessel keep all dry ingredients – which are maida, salt, sugar, milk powder and yeast (all ingredients should be on room temperature).
Mix all these ingredients together and slowly start adding water and bring all the ingredients in shape of the dough.
Flatten this dough and sprinkle water and start kneading the dough. Dough consistency should be smooth but not too wet. While kneading add one tbsp oil/butter.
Knead the dough for at least 15 minutes to get elasticity in it. You will notice that dough has become very smooth in 15 minutes kneading. Add rest of oil/butter.
Knead slightly more and dough is ready.
Keep it in an oil greased bowl. Brush the dough with oil to avoid it drying – cling wrap the bowl and keep it at a warm place for first proofing. Generally I keep the dough for first proofing in my switched off microwave. But during summer, kitchen temperature is usually hot, so I kept it cling wrapped and covered with kitchen towel on kitchen counter.
First proofing (dough rising to double the size) took one hour and ten minutes. Don’t let the dough over proof.
Place the dough on neat and oil greased kitchen counter and punch it gently.
Knead the dough very gently and roll it in a rectangular shape.
Start rolling it tightly from the top and prepare a tight roll.
Pinch the seam sides.
Grease baking tin with oil and place the roll in it by keeping the seam side at the bottom of the tin.
Brush the roll with oil to avoid it drying and cover it with another baking tin (I find covering it with another baking tin very convenient) and again keep it at dry and warm place for second proofing.
Second proofing doesn’t take much time. Generally it gets over between 15 to 30 minutes. Mine took 30 minutes because I kept the tin on kitchen counter.
Just 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven at 200/, brush up the roll with milk and bake for 30-40 minutes at 180/.
If you have a small oven, microwave or OTG, then the top of the bread starts getting brown very quickly and by the end of the baking time, the top becomes very hard. To avoid this problem take out the tin from oven when bread is becoming brown. Generally it happens halfway in the baking process.
Cover only the bread (not the tin) with almuniun foil (it’s called tenting) and keep the tin back in the oven and continue baking till it is done.
When you tap the top of the bread it should sound hollow …. it’s a sign that bread is done!
Take out the tin from the oven and place it on a cooling rack for it to cool down and apply butter on top of the bread to keep it soft.
Don’t let the bread stay in the tin for more than 10-15 minutes because in the cooling process steam will collect at the bottom of the tin and this will make bread soggy from the bottom.
Once the tin is comfortable to touch, clean the edges of the tin with knife and take out the bread and leave it on the cooling rack till it cools down completely.
Don’t slice your bread loaf immediately after it cools down as the crumb is not yet settled completely. Cling wrap with two, three layers and keep it in the fridge for 4-5 hours. I always prefer baking bread in the daytime, keep it cling wrapped in the fridge and slice it in the night, again wrap it and keep it in the fridge and use it in the morning.
If you want perfect beautiful slices of bread, don’t hesitate to buy a good serrated knife and enjoy your homebaked bread as a toast, or any variety of sandwich.
But trust me, before you start preparing sandwiches, you will not resist gobbling up one or two slices of bread just like that…. after all, nothing is better than homebaked bread !!!!