I started making bread about six months ago, I've been enjoying making bread so much that I've started TAFE to become a baker. My goal when I started was to produce a soft white sandwich bread in as short a time as possible. Now that I can do that I'll share what I've learnt. The first thing that I think is important is to use percentages and weight I do not measure by cups etc, I also keep an eye on time and temperature. Since approaching breadmaking with an engineers hat on so to speak my bread has improved considerably. So here is how I make a rapid bread from start to finish in about two hours.
First I work out how much dough I need, today I'm going to do two baguettes at 450g and a lunch loaf at 550g which is about the maximum capacity of my oven, using two oven shelves never seems to work. So I need a dough of 1450g and I'm using the following formula.
- 100% Flour
- 58% Water
- 2% Salt
- 2% Olive Oil
- 1% Sugar
- 1% Yeast
- Total -- 164%
I would usually use bakers flour and 1% bread improver however I wanted to test a cheap all-purpose flour with a protein content of 10.8% (Savings Brand in Austraila) and to see the result of no improver.
For my weights I do the following.I weigh my flour then add other dry ingredients to the flour and give it a good mix with a spoon. Next I start mixing slowly with a stand mixer whilst adding the liquids, once all is mixed I let it sit for anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes to let the dough relax.
- 1450g / 1.64 = 884g -- dough weight divided by our 164% gives the required flour weight.
- 884 * 58% = 513g -- All other percentages are relative to the flour.
- 884 * 2% = 18g -- Salt
- 884 * 2% = 18g -- Olive Oil
- 884 * 1% = 9g -- Sugar
- 884 * 1% = 9g -- Yeast
On a higher speed I work the dough for roughly 8-10 minutes. At this point I want a dough with temperature of about 28°C, I usually get the water temperature(20-22°C with the current warm weather) set by adding a couple of ice cubes(tap water is about 26°C here) to a jug of water before weighing the water off. Kneading the dough will warm it up a bit which is allowed for in the water temperature.
I pull the dough out and give it a "window check" if it's not up to scratch I'll give the dough some hand work. I've seen mentioned here somewhere not to tear the dough but this is exactly what I've been taught at TAFE and hence what I do which rapidly develops the gluten. I suppose there are many schools of thought on kneading :-)
I then let the dough sit again for 10 minutes to again relax the dough before shaping. I split the dough into the required weights and shape. For the lunch loaf I would usually punch down and roll a baguette shape, cut in half and put in the tin with pointy ends in the middle. But today I tried splitting the dough in half and putting 2 balls in, my loaf suffered as I didn't degas it before balling it (almost no oven spring).
For the baguettes I punched down the dough folded the sides in and then rolled it whilst maintaining tension. I slice the baguettes before prooving as doing so afterwards can be difficult.
For prooving I use a plastice storage container to which I add boiling water for steam. The rise takes about 30-60 minutes and may sometimes need more boiling water added to keep the heat up if the weather is cooler.
A spray of water and some seeds and into the oven at 220°C. I pour some water onto an oven tray on the bottom of the oven for steam. I turn the temperature down to 210°C and bake for approximately 25 minutes, a bit shorter for baguettes and rolls sometimes and usually a bit longer for loaves.
From todays effort I can say I rushed a bit and should have left the dough in the proover longer and the gluten was a little under developed. But not a bad result considering my mistakes and cheap flour and it still tasted good with some brie ;-)