You will agree with me that homemade food is much better than ready-made food. On the one hand, everything that is sold packaged has many additives that end up being harmful. On the other hand, and no less important, the difference between one taste and another is abysmal.
What we make at home will always taste better because of the effort and work we have put in to achieve the final result. Besides, cooking has many advantages such as reducing stress and calming anxiety.
In our magazine you will find a lot of great recipes to make at home.
Obviously, we buy many things ready-made because of a question of time and, above all, because we don’t always have the right recipes to cook certain foods. Bread, for example, is one of the most commonly consumed foods and we buy it ready-made because, among other things, it is one of the most difficult products to make.
However, today we want to bring you a very simple recipe with which you can make delicious homemade bread. A very important ingredient is the type of flour, we will make it with Manitoba flour, a very popular flour in Italy that can be found in almost any supermarket. It has a high gluten content and is made from soft wheat, a strong flour, as they say.
What ingredients do we need for bread?
There are 6 ingredients that we are going to use to make the bread.
Before you start cooking you should know that making bread at home is a slow process and that you have to be patient, but if you are patient enough you will notice that your effort has been worthwhile and that you will have a natural food created by you that is also delicious.
- 500 gr. of Manitoba flour
- 280 ml. warm water
- 10 gr. dry brewer’s yeast
- 20 g salt
- 10 g sugar
- Olive oil
Making the dough
Pour the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Mix with a fork until everything is integrated. Then pour in the warm water, stir and finally add the yeast.
Time to knead
Put a little olive oil in your hands and start kneading the mixture. At first it may be difficult for the ingredients to come together, but you will see that little by little the dough will become more and more homogeneous and sticky, this is when you should apply more force. When you notice that the dough is more integrated, you can continue kneading on a board, so it will be more comfortable. The average time in which the dough will be ready is about 5 minutes, you will notice it because you will have a compact dough that does not stick between your fingers.
Put the dough in a baking tin with a little oil on the base or a sheet of parchment paper. Shape the dough into a ball and make some cuts with a sharp knife, this will help the yeast to act and the dough to rise. Put the mould in the oven turned off and let it rest for 3 hours, you will notice how it has increased in size and the fermentation will have been effective.
Now it’s time to bake it, but first we will put 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil on the dough, spreading it with a brush so that it is uniform.
Preheat the oven to 175ºC and place the bread and a small jar of water in the oven. The liquid, as it heats up, will evaporate and create a moist space that will help the bread bake, making it soft and fluffy.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until it looks the way you like it.
After looking at the recipe, I will briefly explain the best products to use to make our bread, such as flour. This is very important because the recipe could go wrong if you don’t use the right flour. Another important product is the type of oil we want to use.
What is the best flour for making bread?
Is any flour suitable for making bread?
What is the difference between strong flour and normal flour?
The strength of flour
Flour is the powder resulting from milling wheat, which is the flour we are going to focus on. The strength of a flour is basically its gluten content (a type of protein). The greater the amount of gluten, the greater the strength and the greater the capacity of the dough to withstand the pressure of the gas generated by fermentation.
In some flours, the strength is indicated by the letter W and a number. The higher the W, the higher the strength (or the more gluten the flour has). The problem is, however, that this information is not usually shown on the packets of ordinary flour found in supermarkets. To find out how strong the flour is, you have to look at the label and the percentage of protein per 100 grams.
Here we have:
-Flour with less than 9 % protein.
This is weak flour or pastry flour. It has a very small amount of protein and is used for confectionery, but never in bakery. It is perfect for sponge cakes, muffins or biscuits. In other words, any dough that contains chemical yeast among its ingredients.
-Flour that has between 10 and 11% protein.
This is baker’s flour or bread flour. That is to say, it is the perfect flour for making bread and generally in the supermarket you will not see that it is specified as baker’s flour, but it is the common wheat flour (the all-purpose flour).
-Flour with more than 11% protein.
It is a strong or high-strength flour. This type of flour is used to make bakery doughs enriched with sugar and fats, such as roscón or brioche, which need a lot of kneading for the gluten to develop and become elastic.
It is true that the labels on supermarket flours are often very brief and, even if a flour has a high percentage of protein, it may not all be gluten and may not be suitable for baking. The best thing to do is to try until you find the flour with which you get the best results.
-What is leavening flour?
This type of flour is basically baking flour that has chemical yeast incorporated into it. It cannot be used to make bread and, if you use it to make sponge cakes, muffins or any other sweet, you must remember not to add any other type of yeast, because it already has it added.
-What oil should we use?
The oil that I recommend to use in this recipe is the extra virgin olive oil, we have to choose among its different types the one that has a milder and not so pronounced flavour. If we do not have or prefer to use another oil, we can also buy the cheapest version, which is ordinary olive oil.
In no case is it recommended to use products that are created in factories such as palm oil, nor is it advisable to use additives and colourings, with this we will only make the bread and its taste worse, in addition we will lose all the advantages that we have when we make homemade bread compared to industrial bread, which normally has all kinds of additives and substances that are harmful to our health.
My tips to make the best bread
-Calculate the proportions of the ingredients well.
If you want to make the bread in the best way, I do not recommend that you adapt the quantities to your own way, that is to say, if you want to make more bread, do not do it with your own calculations and try to do it in a way that will not damage the recipe. A good option is to do it with a calculator for each measure of flour, for bread it is very important that there is 60% water, it is also important that there is 2% yeast and 1.9% salt more or less, depending on the amount of flour you have you will put more or less quantities.
-Don’t get confused with the yeast.
As we have said before, it is important that you use a good yeast, we have previously explained which are the best flours for making bread.
But the flour is no less important than the yeast, there are many types of yeast that we can use, the most commonly used is fresh yeast, but this has several disadvantages such as expiring very soon, and it is often difficult to find. Dry yeast is a type of yeast that is a safe bet for our bread, this type of yeast has a longer expiry date and normally if it is used in the right quantities it adapts very well to our bread dough. You also have to know that the quantities change if you use one type of yeast or another, so make sure you do the maths so that it is not a disaster.
If you make a mistake, fix it with water.
This trick can save you from your dough not being as you wanted it to be, many people due to a problem of the quality of the products used have a very dry dough, this can be improved if you add water to the dough and continue kneading little by little until it is more humid and more manoeuvrable, this step we have to do before putting the bread in the oven.
Place a tray with water
If what you are looking for in your bread is for the edges and the crust to be as crispy as possible, you can achieve this by placing a container of water in the lowest part of the oven, and the bread on a tray a few centimetres away from the water. The water will also help the bread to bake more evenly and more evenly, this tip will really help you to make a bread that will be a work of art, this will result in your bread being better than the ones in the other ovens.