There are few things better than perfectly baked bread. Perhaps one of the most underrated products in a pâtisserie, bread is a simple and classic option.
It’s such a great product to try out because you can consume it in any form—it works great right out of the oven and eaten all warm and buttery, goes well with cheeses, jams and other spreads, and can also be enjoyed as a side with a continental meal or just a bowl of soup.
One product that can be the perfect snack, the perfect accompaniment and in some cases, the perfect meal.
There are many ways through which you can assess the quality of bread—aroma, taste, texture, and the sound when you break bread. Perfecting the art of baking great bread requires some patience, and lots of practice.
In our last article, we told you about the various bread faults that can take place during the process, as a step to ensure your bake the perfect loaf.
Adding to that is Chef Vinesh’s simple and elegant recipe, that will help you create the perfect bit of bread. It’s time to get baking!
Take all the dry ingredients except the salt, and mix them together.
Once you’ve mixed them up, make a small well in the centre and pour in the liquid ingredients.
Mix them up until a rough dough is formed. Add the butter to this rough mixture.
Once the butter is added, keep kneading until a smooth dough is formed. This should take a little time, so keep at it!
Once you think the dough is smooth enough, check the windowpane. At this point, it will have tears when you stretch it out.
This is where you add the salt. A seemingly simple ingredient, the salt is what brings out the final flavour of the bread.
Once the salt is added, continue kneading until the gluten is fully formed. You can check this by seeing if the windowpane has any tears.
Now for the fun part! Another great thing about making bread is that you can get creative with shaping the dough.
We’ve done a classic knotted style for you, but really, you can try any shape that catches your fancy.
Appearance and presentation make all the difference in the world, so keep trying new styles until you find your favourite.
Once you’ve shaped the bread, it needs to be left to prove until it is about double the original size.
While this is happening, make an egg-wash with equal quantities of milk and eggs. Once the proving is complete, apply a coat of egg-wash on the bread.
Almost done! Set your oven to 210 degree Celcius, and bake until the bread is a gorgeous golden brown.
You’ll know why bread is such a delight to bake once the room is filled with the delicious aroma that can only come with baking bread. Fresh out of the oven in all its brown, baked goodness, bread is most flavourful while it is still warm.
Try out your own innovative flavours and shapes, and send us photos of these improvisations. And don’t forget to watch this space for more recipes.