Now that my little boy is moving his way through a plethora of solids and we’re encouraging him to learn to feed himself with finger size foods, bread was going to be entering his repertoire very shortly. And while I was happy to give him store bought bread I was also very keen to know exactly what I was giving him with his first foods. Having done a little bit of research and consulting my father-in-law (who was a baker) I realised there wasn’t much to it.
I now try and bake a few loaves each week, freezing some slices to keep it fresh for whenever we need it.
I have included two recipes below, the first one is a No-knead artisan bread and the other is more your standard soft white bread. The No-knead bread is quite dense, like a sourdough and heavier, compared to the latter which is light and fluffy.
- 3 cups bread or plain flour
- ½ tsp dry yeast + ¼ cup of tepid water
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ cups tepid water
- oven safe pot with lid
- Proof the yeast in the tepid water in a small bowl and leave for 5 minutes
- Place flour and salt in a mixer with a bread hook to mix the salt and bread. You can use a wooden spoon and bowl if you don’t have a mixer.
- Add the yeast and then gradually add the water and continue to mix/ stir until a dough forms.
- Cover the bowl with clingwrap and place it somewhere warm in the house for around 12 – 15 hours. I made the dough in the late afternoon and baked it the next morning.
- After the bread has risen or the given time preheat your oven to 230°c (normal) and place your oven safe pot inside to heat to the desired temperature. While this heating remove your bread from the bowl. Flour a bench or board and shape your bread into your desired shapes.
- Add your bread into the oven safe pot, brush lightly with either water or olive oil, place the lid on top and bake for 30-40 minutes.
- By placing a lid you are creating a steam oven which is what you need for this style of bread.
- After 30 – 40 minutes remove the lid and allow to cook for another 20 – 25 minutes for the top to get colour and go extra crunchy.
- Remove and sit on a wire rack to cool.
Tip: If you can, resist the urge to cut into the bread until it has cooled completely. Doing so prior will cause the dough to constrict going doughy and super dense. You can always pop it into the toaster or warm oven later if you want to have it warm. This bread will have lots of holes as it is a no-knead bread.
- 500g unbleached plain flour or bread flour (bread flour is ideal as it is tougher and is relatively inexpensive)
- 1 tsp dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 10ml of olive oil
- 300- 400ml of warm water
- 1 tsp bread improver
- In your mixer place all the dry ingredients together and stir to combine.
- Add olive oil and mix.
- Gradually add the water and mix until dough forms. If using a mixer with a hook, allow the mixer to work it until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
- Remove the dough from the hook, place in a bowl and cover with clingwrap, place it in a warm spot and allow it to rise for 45 minutes.
- Once the bread has risen, flour a bench top or board where you will knead the bread. Knead the bread to remove all the air bubbles and then place it back in the bowl, cover with clingwrap and allow it to sit for another 30 – 45 minutes until it has doubled in size.
- Heat your normal oven to 210°c.
- After the second rise repeat the kneading process. Depending on what type of bread you want to make will depend on what tray/tin you place the bread in. If you want to make a slice bread style, you will need a long rectangle cake tin or bread tin. Roll the dough into a long, rectangle formation and place in the tin for the last rise (approx another 30 – 45 minutes) you can also just shape it into a vienna style and place it on a flat tray. Either way it will need to rise for a 3rd time before it goes onto a tray.
- After this last rise the bread is now ready for the oven, brush lightly with water and pop it into a hot oven.
- Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until the bread is browning on the top and has a nice crunchy top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting.