Baking a good loaf bread has been on my mind for quite some time now. I’ve been experimenting with recipes, temperatures, quantities, timing and all possible factors to make a good l, eatable loaf for a year now. The idea to bake a bread was incepted around 6 to 7 years back, and after 5 years of sucking at it, I guess I’ve become quite good at it.
This recipe is an outcome of my enhanced knowledge, all thanks to several YouTube channels and various bloggers. But, recently I came across, may be the most famous bread masters in US, ‘Peter Reinhart’. His videos and book on bread making explains everything that is there to bread making.
The basics of flavor in breads, a shorter version
Flavor in bread comes from sugars mainly. These sugars which are present in flour are in complex form. When subjected to fermentation, these are broken down into simpler forms and alcohol ;). Fermentation is mainly done using yeast, which feed on sugars and release CO2 and alcohol. Giving bread a good rise (those beautiful holes) and acidity. Another reaction that happens is the enzyme activity, which breaks downs the complex sugars and make them available for us and yeast, giving a beautiful golden red colour to crust when baked.
Now, as Peter Reinhart says, beer is liquid bread, since it goes through same fermentation. I thought of mixing the both together to develop much more complex flavors. To get that sweetness from beer, and use whole wheat flour, (chakki Atta), to the full goodness of wheat.
- 1 pint (330ml) of your favourite beer. Actual required is about 250 ml.
- 300 gm whole wheat flour
- 6 gm salt
- 8 gm yeast.
Step 1. The overnight fermentation
Dissolve about 3 gm yeast in about 40ml water. Mix atta, salt, 250ml beer and yeast solution together in a bowl. No need to knead yet. Cover with a cling on film and leave it to ferment overnight in refrigerator.
Step 2 Kneading
Take out the overnight fermented dough and leave outside to being it to room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
Dissolve about 5 gm of yeast in Luke warm 40 ml water and let it rest to get activated for 10 min.
Now mix everything and start making a dough. If the dough is too sticky add a little flour, and if too dry add water.
Once kneeded for good 10 minutes, leave it to rise in some warm place.
Step 3 Shaping
Once the dough has doubled in size, put it out in a flat working surface, dusted with flour. Do not punch down the dough. We want to keep the trapped gases. Divide the dough in 3 and shape as you like. I made one into baguette, one torpedo, and one boule. You may shape it using even a basket which is grassed and dusted with flour. Leave them on a baking tray to double in size.
Step 4 Baking
Preheat your oven at 240 C. Score your shaped dough with blade. This creates a medium for steam to escape. Also keep a water spray handy. We will spray the bread in oven to create steam. This will give breads more time to rise and a beautiful crust.
Now bake the breads at 220 c for 25-30 minutes or until good golden brown. Keep spraying water every two minutes for 3 times.(credit of creating steam oven at home : Julia Child)
Step 5 Cooling
Take the loafs out of oven and place them on a cooling rack for atleast 2 hours. Do not cut them when hot. They are still baking and setting up from within.
Step 6 Eat
These kinds of breads are generally very haevy. If you are used to white sandwich breads you may not like it at all. However to enhance the taste while eating, slice them thin and toast. East with cheese spread. Cheers!