Thursday, October 18, 2012

Basic White Loaf

This is my staple white loaf which I enjoy with butter and perhaps jam or kaya. I used to make bread using 2kg of flour. Nowadays, I find it more practical to just use a kg pack of flour for my bakes. I am in the process of teaching my wife to bake bread. I made up this simple recipe which is easy to remember and I don't even have to take out my weighing scales anymore.

INGREDIENTS (Makes 2 large loaves, scale accordingly to make one loaf)
1 kg flour
2 teaspoons yeast
3 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons malt powder(optional)
5 teaspoons oil.
700 g ice water


1. Add flour into large mixing bowl
2. Add yeast
3. Add salt
4. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly with wooden spoon
5. Dissolve malt powder into water
6. Add water into the mixing bowl
7. Add oil into the water
8. Stir until a rough dough is formed making sure all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
9. Leave aside for at least 30 mins (Autolyse stage)
10. After the autolyse, stretch and fold the dough once (either on the bench or do it when the dough is in the proofing box.
11. Scrape the dough into a plastic bin. (You can do the first stretch and fold here if you did not do it on a worktop)
12. Cover with plastic sheet. (This is important to keep the dough surface from drying out. If you are not sqeamish about cling wrap contacting the dough, you can lay it directly over the dough. Otherwise, just seal the box in cling wrap or use a large plastic bag to seal the entire box in the bag.
13. Leave in fridge overnight or around 12 hours (flexible depending on how flavorful you want the bread to be).
14. After 12 hours, scrape the dough onto a well floured work top. Stretch the dough with the help of a bench scraper and pull the dough in east-west direction. Fold the dough one-third and the same with the other end. Now stretch it north-south and do the same folding over. You should get roughly a ball shape. Leave it on the bench and cover with a plastic sheet.
15. After 45-60 mins bench rest, divide the dough into 2 parts.
16. Shape into a ball and place it seam side up in a well floured cloth lined basket.
17. Final proof for around 1 hour.
18. When the dough is proofing, preheat the oven to 225C.
19, After proofing, place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and place a peel over the paper. Hold the basket and the peel and flip over. The dough will now sit on the parchment. Remove the basket and the cloth. Slash the dough and transfer the dough onto the baking stone.
19. Cover the dough with a wok cover. ( I use a very flimsy whole aluminum wok cover found in a neighborhood store. You can do your regular method for getting steam in the oven but the cover will also help to trap steam from the dough itself)
20. After 15 mins. remove the cover and reduce the temp to 200C. Bake without the cover for another 30 min at 200C.