So a comment on my post about making baguettes by Mal of Rye Smile about the ingredients in my bread got me thinking. I really don’t need everything I put in there. So the comment was specifically referring to sugar and egg. So I thought why not go back to basics and make a simple white loaf of nothing more than flour, water, salt and yeast. Here is the result.
My method for this loaf was to make something very similar to my sourdough, but without a starter. By that I mean using a high hydration level coupled with a long prove.
- 600 g Strong white bread flour
- 450 g Water
- 3 tsp Salt
- 3 tsp Yeast
Mix all the ingredients together. Leave for 10 mins, then kneed for a few mins. Repeat a couple of times. Very vague I know but I try to fit my bread making in around other things, so there is often no specific timing.
Leave over night to prove.
Knock back, shape (I used a tea towel) and leave to rise again while the oven preheats.
This is where things went wrong, I was rushed to get it risen and baked before leaving for work. So it didn’t have enough time to rise, meaning it was slightly dense and expanded too much when in the oven.
I baked for 10 mins at about 210°C, then a further 30 mins at 160°C. I would ideally have given it another 10-15 mins (to brown the crust a bit more), but time didn’t allow.
Well what to say about this loaf. It was so simple, yet has so much character. It has the large open wholes of a sourdough (admittedly a slightly skewed one) but the taste of a simple white loaf.
It makes great toast as well as simple slices. The wholes make it a bit difficult to make sandwiches with, but never mind.
Also The bottom could have down with a bit more cooking – I put this down to my cracked baking stone, and not having quite long enough to bake for.
I learnt a lot with this loaf, the simplicity of baking and some new techniques for working with wet dough, and I really feel like I am getting somewhere with it. Perhaps not the most attractive loaf, but I love it’s rustic charm.
The question remains, what to bake next?