I have been baking so much bread lately, that the kids have started to make fun of me. It looks like whenever they come home from school there is either bread in the oven, bread cooling or another dough on the go. What’s not to like? I enjoy every aspect of making bread: shaping the dough, watching it rise, the scent of baking it and eating it, of course. The kids are very willing to help with the eating, so they don’t complain too much.
I have been reading a lot on how to make good bread and have found that patience is a very important part of it. These days I like to start the dough in the evening, let it rise for an hour or so and then let it rest in the fridge overnight. In the morning I take it out and let it warm up a bit until the kids are at school. Then I shape it, let it rise and finally bake it. It is probably midday by the time it comes out of the oven.
I use two methods for shaping and baking the bread. For toast or soft doughs I like to use loaf pans and bake the bread without baking stone or steam. For shaped doughs I use both. For the final rise I set the loaf onto a piece of parchment paper, which I slide onto an inverted baking sheet to rest. When it is time to bake I take the baking sheet, hold the edge against the baking stone, grab the parchment paper and slide the loaf onto the stone with it. For steam I toss a cup of hot water into a roasting pan, that sits on the bottom of the oven. This works very well. It is quick, the loaf keeps its shape and there is no flying flour left to burn on the stone.
Here is a great video that shows how to shape the dough into a round bread.
A favourite of mine is Walnut Bread. The walnuts turn the dough slightly purple.
100g whole wheat flour
350g bread flour
150g rye flour
1 1/2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups water
3 tsp salt
Chop walnuts and roast them in a heavy frying pan. Combine the nuts and the flours in a mixing bowl, add sugar, water and yeast. Wait until yeast has dissolved. Add the salt and mix the dough using a stand mixer until just combined into a messy dough. Let rest for 20 minutes. Knead dough for 3 to 5 minutes until smooth. Cover with cling foil and let rise for an hour at room temperature. After that store the dough in the fridge overnight.
In the morning shape the bread, cover it and let it rise for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 430F or 220C.
Slash the bread, bake it for 40 to 45 minutes.
You can find an easy to print pdf file here.