Friday, September 5, 2008

White Bread - 4 ingredients to amazing bread

Simple. Calm. Relaxing.

White bread. 4 ingredients can bring you to new levels of meditation within the kitchen. No bigas (not that they're hard), no fancy ingredients (not that those are bad), no sourdough growth (not bad either). Just you, the quiet of the oven pre-heating, and some flour.

Simple. Calm. Relaxing.

Richard Bertinet is one of my favorite bread baking authors. One of his first books, Dough, slowly introduces the would be artisan baker to the world of bread by showing how several different breads can be made with the same dough. My intent is to introduce you to the same. I want to illustrate to you the wonders of the bread baking world as brought to you by Mr. Bertinet. His simplistic approach yields amazing results. I also have to warn you that you will enter into a zen like state when making these various breads. They are amazingly easy and the results are professional.

We will begin our White Bread series with the basic white bread formula. Most of the recipes that are created use only this basic mix. Nothing more; nothing less. Simple.

Please enjoy the beginnings of an experience that will hold you in disbelief. You will wonder what I have mixed in and didn't tell you. You will shake your head, you will be in denial, YOU WILL...read on and see what you are capable of.

White Bread Dough (from Dough - Simple Contemporary Bread by Richard Bertinet)

Ingredients:


1/3 ounce





















Fresh yeast (preferably) or 1/4 ounce envelope active dry yeast (1 1/2 tsp)


























18 ounces





















White bread flour (about 3 3/4 - 3 7/8 cups)


























2 teaspoons





















Fine grain salt


























12 1/2 ounces





















water (13 fl oz in a glass but weighing is preferred

Directions:

- Rub the yeast into the flour using your fingertips as if making a crumble

- Add the salt and water

- Hold the bowl with one hand and mix the ingredients around with the other (or use the rounded end of your scraper) for 2 - 3 minutes until the dough starts to form.

- With the rounded end of your scraper, turn the dough out onto the counter.

- DO NOT ADD ANY FLOUR TO THE COUNTER! The dough will be wet and sticky.

- Continue to knead the dough until it becomes soft and pliable. This will create an airier dough.

Lewis note: I use the dough hook on my mixer. I know this doesn't sound like the actions of a purist but it makes it easier to make a lot of batches at once. If you do wish to use your mixer Bertinet gives these instructions:

Using a mixer with a dough hook

- Put the flour into your mixer bowl and rub in the yeast. Switch the mixer onto the slowest speed and mix for another 6 - 7 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Remove the dough from the bowl, transfer to a lightly floured counter and mold into a ball.

Stay tuned for the creations that you can make with this basic dough. You will see that the end results are far from basic!

8 comments:

BumbleVee said...

Hey!..... just a minute...this is all backwards... isn't it supposed to get more complicated? ...ahahahhah...

ohhh...goody, goody... simple. My fav. But, I haven't forgotten...I am definitely gonna do a biga....some day........

Tablebread said...

bumblevee - I like to bring it back just a little and remove any excuses or doubts that some may have about being able to make great tasting bread at home. NO MORE EXCUSES! ;) Now just wait until you see what you can do with this!

Rene said...

Hi Tablebread,

Thanks for dropping in at my blog. I've tried Richard Bertinet's White Bread Dough previously and it is, as you said, simple. Oh, don't forget to tell your readers the wonderful crackling sounds when it cooled enough to break in!

Here's my take on the same recipe. I made mine with arm power though!

http://daintybites.blogspot.com/2007/01/finally-my-bread-is-here.html

Tablebread said...

rene - ah! I am glad to see our fougasse came out the same! (You should have seen the epi I tried to cut - disastrous!!!) And you are so correct the crackling of the bread is the music of heaven ;)

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Great step-by-step pictures! It looks VERY easy!!

Tablebread said...

Shari - thank you so much for the compliment :) I try and demonstrate to as wide a demographic as I can that home bread baking is not only possible but down right easy! :)

Kathleen said...

Marvellous! Thanks for the reminder to hone back to the basics and enjoy the calm. This is so much better than rushing to the store to get a processed loaf that will still seem fresh in ten days (doesn't sound too natural to me). Deep breaths. Real bread. Ah, that's better!

Tablebread said...

kathleen - You got the sentiment exactly ;)