The 3 magic words that every person loves to hear:
Freshly baked bread.
After years of walking past bakeries just to take in that wafting aroma of fresh-baked bread, I took it upon myself to try making it at home. My tussle with bread making continued from a few years back to last month when I finally got it right (joy to the world!). I haven’t stopped baking bread ever since. Nobody in their right mind would.
The 3 secret ingredients to making good bread are patience, patience and more patience. Treat your dough like a baby; nurture it, watch it grow in size and then… eat it up.
For the dough:
- Water: 1 cup
- Dry yeast: 2 ½ tsps.
- Sugar: 1tbsp.
- All purpose flour: 2 cups
- Oil: 3 tbsps.
- Salt: 1 tsp.
- Warm a cup of water.
- Sprinkle the dry yeast over it.
- Sprinkle sugar on top.
- Allow this to rest for about 5 minutes. The yeast will release air-bubbles and the mixture will turn frothy. (It’s fun to watch).
- In a bowl, sift the flour and salt together. This is to make sure the salt does not come in direct contact with the yeast.
- Add the oil to the liquid mixture (water+yeast+sugar).Make a well in the flour and slowly pour the liquid mixture.
- Form the dough, adjusting oil, flour and water as needed. Knead it for 10 minutes until it is thoroughly elastic and springy to the touch. (Stress-balls are passé, kneading dough is deliciously rewarding!)
- Add the dough to a well-oiled bowl, cover with a wet towel and put it away to proof for an hour or two till it doubles in side.
- Once the bread doubles in size and looks well-aerated, punch it down till it falls flat and knead away for another 5 minutes. Allow it to rest for another 10 minutes. (Patience, remember?)
- Now shape the dough into whatever shape you like: rolls, baguette, loaf, plait, your wish. Cover it with a wet towel after shaping and let it rise for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 220 C (or 430 F), brush the dough with butter and sprinkle desired toppings. (I used toasted sesame seeds, dried rosemary and basil)
- Bake for 15-20 minutes for the rolls as they are smaller. Lower the temperature to 200 C (400 F) and bake for 15 more minutes for bigger shapes.
- Serve hot after generously slathering it with butter (Danish Lurpak is my favourite) or olive oil, or with jam or cheese.
- Let there be bread… Always!