Friday, 27 June 2014

Simon’s All-purpose Bread

This is my “go to” bread recipe – made so often he has it committed to memory. The dough works well as a pizza base, makes a good loaf if left to bake in his bread machine, or can be run through the dough cycle, then shaped into a focaccia-style or Vienna loaf that always seems to get plenty of compliments. The flavour of the bread is particularly good when the dough is made well ahead, then left to rest for several hours (or even overnight) before being shaped then risen again before baking.

If you want a few pointers, check out this video:

Bread Machine Instructions
Carefully measure all the ingredients into a 750g capacity bread machine in the order specified by the manufacturer.

Set to the NORMAL/WHITE bread cycle, MEDIUM crust and START or use the DOUGH cycle and shape and bake by hand. You can leave the dough to sit (in the machine if the weather is cooler, or in an oiled bowl in the fridge in warmer weather) for several hours at this stage.

Hand-made Bread Instructions
Measure the first seven ingredients into a large bowl with 1½ cups of the flour and mix thoroughly. Cover and leave for 15 minutes or longer in a warm place. Stir in the remaining flour, adding a little extra warm water or bread flour if necessary to make a dough just firm enough to knead.

Knead with the dough hook of an electric mixer or by hand on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, adding extra flour if necessary, until the dough forms a soft dough that springs back when gently pressed.

Shaping and Baking
To make pizzas, divide the dough in two, then shape each out to make a pizza base about 30-40cm round. Top and bake as you would usually. Otherwise turn the dough in 2–3 teaspoons of oil in the cleaned dry bowl, cover with cling film and leave to sit for at least 30 minutes (you can leave it for several hours at this stage – on the bench if the weather is cooler or in the fridge in warmer weather).

When you are ready to proceed, lightly knead the oiled dough in the bowl for about 1 minute. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured board and roll into a 30x20cm oval shape.

For a Vienna-type loaf roll it up into a sausage shape and place on a well-oiled baking sheet or in a sponge roll tin and leave to rise in a warm, draught-free place for about 1 hour or until double its original size.

For a focaccia-style loaf place the dough on a well-oiled baking sheet and pat it out to about 2cm thick. Leave to rise in a warm, draught-free place for about 1 hour or until roughly double its original size. Drizzle with a little extra oil, then using your index finger poke the dough at intervals over the surface. Sprinkle with flaky or rock salt and/or some small sprigs of rosemary.

Bake at 225°C for 15 minutes or until golden brown top and bottom.

Photography: Lindsay Keats Photography

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