There is something special about a fresh homemade bread that cannot be explained. Making a fresh and healthy bread is a treat in itself, and one is sure that there are no added preservatives or fillers in the bread! Its simple wholesome goodness!!
This is the recipe for a basic white flour bread, and I use the same dough with slight variations for a number of other recipes.
So be patient, knead well and the result will be a light, fluffy, yummy Homemade Bread!
How to make it
Warm the milk so that it feels similar to your body temperature! Dissolve 1tsp of sugar in it. Transfer into a bowl and add the yeast. Mix so that there are no lumps. Keep aside covered and let it sit for 5-7 minutes. After that remove the cover and you will notice a nice frothy layer on top of the milk, this means your yeast is active and ready to use. If there is no froth, it either means your milk was too hot or too cold, or that your yeast is old. Repeat the process until you get the froth on top of the milk.
In a large bowl add the flour, sugar(powder) & salt and mix well. Make a well in the centre and pour the yeast mix into it. Mix well using a spoon or your hand. Now add in 1/3 cup water at a time until your dough comes together into one large ball. The dough will be slightly sticky, but should not be runny.
Take out of the bowl onto a clean floured surface.
Now knead the dough well using the stretch and pull method. This will activate the gluten in the flour and give you a uniform textured bread.
Once the dough is smooth and soft to touch, transfer into a bowl almost double the size of the dough. Cover with cling wrap followed by a kitchen napkin and keep in a warm and dark place for a minimum of 2 hours.
After two hours the dough will almost double in volume.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Take your dough out onto a slightly floured surface and shape into your desired shape. It can be a long baguette, small dinner rolls,a braid or a standard tin formed bread. Choices are endless.
Make sure to slit the top of the bread so that you get a nice and even rise in the bread. Transfer onto a greased baking tray and brush slightly with a mix of olive oil, melted butter and milk.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or till the bread gives a hollow sound when you tap its bottom.
Once baked let it cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into it.
This is a basic dough and any flavour can be added to it to enhance its appeal!