Monday, February 6, 2012

Home Made Bread

There is absolutely NOTHING that tastes like your own bread. Now I know for sure.

What I made was the Italian style, hard crust bread that we use to scoop the pasta sauce after we've finished eating. It's one of the habits we kind of lost along the way of emigration because of the bread difference.

The recipe I found is one specific for electric ovens, like mine. There is definitely room for improvement, but my mother taught me this applies to everything in life, especially bread :)

So, the dough needs to be started the evening before, so it can be left to raise in a bowl for the night. I placed it in a plastic bowl, wrapped it in cloths and placed it in the oven. I didn't want any room temperature change to disturb my precious dough!

What I used:

1 Kg of flour (Ideally 500 grams of strong flour and 500 grams of "00" flour, but the latter is especially expensive and hard to find, in Ireland)
450 grams of warm water
7-8 grams of yeast

I mixed the water and the yeast in the bowl.

Then I added the salt, I think about 1/2 a spoon of table salt and then I folded in the flour very slowly.
I kneaded the dough until it became this:

At least 10 minutes of kneading are needed. I like kneading the dough, it makes me feel I am really creating something. Some water may be added at this point, if there is still flour flying around.

I placed the dough in the bowl and then in the oven, switched off.

Saturday morning I found this:

What a pleasure! My own dough!!! I gave it the shape I wanted, and then let it rest for another 2 hours:

While waiting, I made sure the oven reached 250 degrees Celsius and baked other "experiments" (details to follow). Once the oven reached the temperature, I cooked the loaf in the oven (without the fan) for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I turned the temperature down to 200 degrees Celsius and let the bread cook for another 30 minutes, with the fan on.

This is what came out, and we all loved it!
The outside
The inside

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