How to Make Great Bread
The miracle of dough rising, the delicious aroma in the kitchen as the bread bakes, the sound of the crust crackling as it cools and the golden beauty of a loaf – these are almost as significant as the flavour and texture of the bread when you eat it. Baking bread at home is one of life’s pleasures, so don’t miss out! A plain loaf has just four ingredients, flour, yeast, water and salt, and is not at all difficult to make. Your task as the baker is to do some enjoyable mixing and kneading and then sit back while the yeast does its work.
Before you start, read through these notes on the ingredients used in and the processes of making bread:
Yeast is a living plant which needs gentle warmth, food and liquid to make it grow. As it grows it gives off carbon dioxide which creates the bubbles that make the dough rise and it also produces alcohol. The alcohol is driven off when you bake the bread and this is what makes freshly baked bread smell so good.
There are two readily available types of yeast:
Yeast works best at 37˚C which is body temperature. A higher temperature will kill the yeast whereas a low temperature will retard its activity, but not kill it. By leaving bread dough to rise at room temperature, or even in the fridge, you will produce a better-flavoured loaf which will stay fresh longer.
To use Edmonds Active Yeast, you begin by mixing the yeast with some warm liquid to reactivate it, then after about 15 minutes add it to the flour with the remaining ingredients.
To use Edmonds Surebake Yeast, mix the yeast with half of the measured dry ingredients, and then add half of the required liquid (milk or water) cold. Immediately add the rest of the liquid as boiling water followed by any butter. Stir to a smooth paste and let stand for 2–3 minutes. Lastly mix in the remaining dry ingredients and proceed with the recipe.
Edmonds High Grade Flour is best for bread making since its high protein (gluten) content gives the bread good volume and texture. You can also use Edmonds Wholemeal Flour, and sweet, cake-like breads are made with Edmonds Standard Flour.
Other Bread Ingredients
Proving Bread Dough
Using the oven
Using the microwave
At room temperature
In the refrigerator