Nothing compares to a delicious loaf of homemade bread. The pleasant smell of fresh bread, with its malty and nutty aromas, the taste of wheat and cereals, the crunchy consistency when we bite from the bread crust; all these sensations envelop us in beautiful childhood memories. Maybe when our grandmother made us fresh bread when we came from school, or the moment before the holidays, when we went with our mothers to the local bakery.
Bread is essential in almost all cuisines. Bread with butter, bread with soup, bread with steak. Bread is cheap and affordable, but every now and then, it's nice to go all in the kitchen and make home-made bread together. With jokes and goodwill, we feel whole again, as in the times when we gathered in the grandmother's warm kitchen, and we all contributed, big and small, to the copious Sunday lunch.
We live in a fast, modern world that is getting us all tired. We always dream of the moment when we can detach ourselves from reality and we can run away, in a cabin in the mountains, away from everyday problems. In the spring of 2020, this opportunity arose. Well, we are somehow forced to retreat to our world, lock ourselves in the house and find ourselves in a space that was only ever used for relaxation on the couch in front of a movie.
But maybe this is for a positive approach. In fact, we have the opportunity to recover our time with family. It is the moment to spend quality time with partners, with our children who grow up too fast. Let's read the books we always wanted to read. Let's play or learn or work at that business idea for which we have not had time so far. And of course, it's time to reconnect with the food we eat. Let's celebrate each piece, cook it carefully, and appreciate it on the plate. It was never a more ideal time to meet again in the kitchen and learn to make homemade bread together...
Homemade Bread Ingredients
Homemade bread is easy to make. It may seem complicated at first glance, but after the second try, you will never want to buy bread from the store again. I usually make a lot of dough and put in the freezer. Every time I need a new bread, I get it out of the freezer, and I get the job done.
To make good homemade bread, we need special bread flour. It is found everywhere, in any store: flour type 650 or type 1050. Both work well but I prefer type 1050 flour, I got used to it and I like the consistency of the bread, it is thicker and the crust is a little bit thicker. There's nothing better than the satisfying crunchy sound of bread crust when you indulge in that first bite.
There are many ways to make homemade bread, but I prefer the Italian method. In Italy, whether we make pizza or grissini, yeast is not added directly to the flour, but it is first activated in a little warm water with sugar.
Also, I put a little olive oil in the dough, because I like my homemade bread to be dense yet fluffy. When you press your finger in the middle of the bread it should be springy.
Finally, although I love the taste of fresh homemade bread, I like to add a few Italian herbs to it. When biting into the homemade bread, first indulge in the crispy crust, then feel the slightly salty fluffy middle, and at the end, it must leave a fresh taste of herbs from the thyme and oregano. The combination is excellent.
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How We Make Homemade Bread
We prepare all the ingredients, to make it easier for us to cook. We need 600g bread flour, 300ml warm water, a sachet of dried instant yeast, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 3 teaspoons oil, 2 teaspoons thyme or oregano (optional).
In a large bowl, add water and sugar. Mix with a spoon, until the sugar dissolves. Sprinkle dry yeast over the water.
Leave the yeast in the bowl, without mixing for 10-15 minutes, until it becomes frothy. (see the picture below, what the yeast becomes frothy)
Add flour over the yeasty water. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add salt, oil and herbs, if using. Mix until all ingredients are well combined, into a relatively sticky dough.
Sprinkle a little flour on a clean, work surface. Transfer the dough to the surface, and begin to knead it for 10 minutes. We know that it is ready when the result is a silky ball, which does not stick to our fingers.
Transfer the dough into a bowl sprinkled with a little flour. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it proof for an hour.
It is ready when the dough doubles in volume.
We transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. We start kneading again to knock back the air bubbles from it. The idea is to return to its initial consistency, of the small and silky ball. Put a little oil in a bread pan and cover with a little flour. Transfer the dough to the pan and let it rise again for another 30 minutes.
The dough will increase again in volume, directly in the pan.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Bake the bread in the middle of the oven for about 20-25 minutes. We know the bread is ready when you knock on its bottom and it sounds hollow.
If it sounds somewhat clogged, it should be put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Leave the bread to cool a little before cutting it. It can be served hot in the morning for breakfast, or for lunch with traditional soup. If you do not want to consume bread immediately, you can put it in the freezer, inside the plastic bag until ready to use.
This recipe has been developed entirely by Yuzu Bakes. Any resemblance with other recipes is purely coincidental.