I have been mad about baking bread for the past week. This is already my third loaf this week! The bread maker has really transformed bread making into something so simple that I can't help but keep trying out new recipes. Even my boys couldn't understand why I have been making bread, bread, and bread! My elder boy questioned why I have to make bread since we can get it easily everywhere. I had to come up with some lame excuse that store-bought bread contains additives which is no good for health...I find the excuse quite lame as I have been eating these kind of bread since young ;) Anyway, he seems to buy that idea and didn't question anymore.
As I am still in my quest to search for an everyday bread, I tried this Farmhouse White Loaf recipe from the book "The Bread Book" by Sara Lewis. This is a really simple recipe which anyone can make. However, I didn't follow the recipe exactly, thanks to the bread machine, I am now very adventurous when it comes to bread making! I replaced water with fresh milk, and replaced 30g of bread flour with cake flour. I read from floggers that cake flour will give a softer texture, while the use of milk will give a tender crumb.
I shaped the loaf by following the instructions given in the same cookbook. This is done by rolling the dough into a rope and then tuck in the ends underneath the dough before placing it in a loaf pan. My loaf pan appeared to be slightly bigger than the 1 lb loaf size, as such, the dough didn't really rise fully up to the brim after the second proofing.
Nevertheless, the loaf still puffed up well above the loaf pan when it was done. I didn't use any egg wash on the surface, as I prefer the loaf to have a matte look...anyway it is also not called for in the recipe. Next time I may sprinkle some flour on top before baking...to give it a more rustic, country-style look.
The crust made the finished loaf appear rather like a baguette, but it didn't taste anything like a french bread. The crust is rather thin, and the bread was easy to slice.
The texture was light and fluffy. I tasted one plain slice and it reminded me of the usual sandwich bread we have for breakfast. The bread did not taste "yeasty" or sourish.
I had them toasted and served warm with my favourite blueberry jam. Very Yummy! This recipe is going to be a keeper, well, at least for the time being, before I chance on another everyday bread ;p
270g bread flour
30g cake flour
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (about 14g) butter
- Assemble the pan and kneader blade in the bread machine. Add in milk and butter, followed by sugar and salt. Spoon in the flour and make a slight indentation in the centre of the flour. Add the yeast in the indentation.
- Shut the lid and set to the "Dough" function. The machine will do the mixing, kneading and proofing within 1 hr 30mins (The setting and timing vary among different brands of bread machine).
- At the end of the programme, remove the dough from the pan. The dough should have doubled in size.
- Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and and punch to deflate it.
- Roll the dough back and forth with your palms to form a rope. Fold the ends of the dough under so that it is even width and the exact length of the tin. Lightly grease the pan (not necessary if it is a non-grease pan) and lay the dough in it.
- Cover with cling wrap and let it proof for another 30 mins, or until double in bulk.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degC for 25 ~ 30mins. The bread should be well risen, golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on wire rack before slicing.