For the past nine months I’ve been the primary bread maker in the household. My standard recipe is a slightly modified version of Peter Reinhart’s light wheat bread from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. My up-scaled recipe makes two ‘one pound’ loaves.
- 667 grams breadmaking flour
- 333 grams wholemeal flour
- 40 grams sugar
- 20 grams salt
- 60 grams milk powder
- 10 grams instant yeast
- 60 grams melted butter or olive oil
- 540 grams/mls tepid water (around a quarter recently boiled water, and the balance cool tap or filtered water)
- Use the KitchenAid on its slowest setting using the dough hook.
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
- Add the butter and water whilst mixing.
- Mix for around 5 minutes until the dough forms a ball. Add more water or flour as necessary.
- Continue to mix for another 5-10 minutes until the dough passes the ‘window pane’ test.1
- Remove the dough ball from the bowl, add a small amount of olive oil to the bowl, return the dough to the bowl and spin it around to coat the ball in oil.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to ferment (called the preferment) for around an hour or two until it has doubled in size. Time depends on the ambient temperature and the temperature of the water used in the mixing. Mine would be an hour and a half on average.
- Degas the dough in the bowl by ‘punching it down’, remove the dough from the bowl, divide it into two roughly equal pieces and form into a rough rectangle shape. Fold it in thirds in both directions and form the dough into loaf shapes approximately 20cm long and 7cm in diameter.
- Place these dough cylinders in two bread pans, again cover with plastic and allow to proof for an additional hour or two.
- They again will double in shape and should crest the top of the pans by a centimetre or two.
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade (fan-forced oven here).
- Remove the plastic!
- I sprinkle the loaves with some water and ensure the tops are slightly moist all over.
- I then score the tops of the dough loaves with a razor blade. This can be down with two or three diagonal slices across the top or some other patterns. This scoring allows the bread to rise into the scores during baking.
- I bake them next to each other in the middle-to-bottom area of the oven for 25 minutes. I then switch and turn both loaves and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
- To test I turn out one loaf, flip it onto it’s top and tap the bottom to ensure there is a hollow sound. Turn out both loaves and cool on a cooling rack.
- One loaf is kept for bread. The other is sliced (after waiting a couple of hours for it to cool) and put in the freezer.
The window pane test is performed by pulling a small piece of dough off the main body (around golfball size or smaller) and stretching it. The dough passes the test if it stretches out and becomes very thin such that you can see light through it before the dough starts to tear. ↩︎