Basic Bread

I love bread and make bread quite a lot. This is my basic recipe if I want to eat bread the same day I start making it. Pizza bases are probably our most common variation. Focaccia is Galit’s favourite bread variation including chopped fresh basil in the dough and sea salt sprinkled over the top. If you want more on the theory of bread making then have a look at How to Make Bread.

Basic Bread
Making bread is an art form. I can't say I've mastered it, but I've had reasonable success so far. I weigh some of the ingredients and measure others by volume. There are variations for focaccia, pizza, dough balls, pita and round rolls.
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Basic Ingredients
  1. 500 grams flour (1/2 strong white; 1/2 plain white)
  2. 5 or 15 grams salt (use the lower amount if you're going to put sea salt on top as well)
  3. 10 grams active dry yeast
  4. 15 grams teaspoons sugar
  5. 310 ml lukewarm water (1/3 boiling and 2/3 tap temperature) or milk
  6. [Optional] 1-2 tablespoon olive oil [good for Foccacia]
Pizza Ingredients
  1. Tomato sauce
  2. Grated cheese
  3. Anything else you fancy
Focaccia Ingredients
  1. [Optional flavour] Any chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, or sage), olives, sautéed onion rings, sun-dried tomatoes
  2. 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  3. [Optional topping] Any of sea salt, rosemary, basil, or sage, chopped olives, sautéed onion rings, sun-dried tomatoes, capsicums, cheese (goat or mozarella)
Dough balls Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons butter
Round Rolls Ingredients
  1. Possible flavouring - chopped fresh or dried herbs (e.g. oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil or chives) or crushed spices (e.g. coriander, chilli, mustard, fennel), grated cheese (e.g. parmesan), toasted seeds (e.g. sesame).
  2. [Optional] Milk or beaten egg
Basic Instructions
  1. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl
  2. Make a well in the centre
  3. Add active dry yeast, sugar, water and olive oil to the well in the centre of the flour.
  4. Stir the yeasty water a bit without mixing in the flour.
  5. Stand in a warm place until yeast starts frothing and bubbling (5 - 10 min).
  6. Mix the flour into the bubbly yeast to make a dough firm enough to knead.
  7. Knead until smooth and satiny (about 5 min). Use as little flour as possible.
  8. Turn into an oiled bowl (or plastic bag), cover and leave to rise in warm place.
  9. Wait until the dough has doubled in size (~45 min).
  10. If it rises before you are ready, give it a short knead, cover it again, and leave it to stand at room temperature. Repeat until you need it.
  11. Now follow one of the variations below.
Pizza Instructions
  1. Knead and punch the dough to knock the air out
  2. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces
  3. Roughly shape each piece into circle and roll out to your desired thickness (0.75cm would be "thin")
  4. Cover and leave in warm place for 10-20 min (doesn't have to be as long as other breads)
  5. Bake at 240° C until base is crisp and golden (10-15 min)
  6. Serve warm, in wedges
Focaccia Instructions
  1. [Optional step] Place option flavour on board where you're going to knead the bread.
  2. Knead and punch the dough to knock the air out (and knead in any flavour)
  3. Roughly shape into rectangle
  4. Place on an oiled or floured sponge tin or baking tray.
  5. Leave in warm place for 15-45 min – 3 cm tall is ideal
  6. Make finger hole depressions.
  7. Drizzle oil over top of dough
  8. [Optional Step] Sprinkle optional topping lightly over dough
  9. Bake at 220° C until golden brown (10-15 min)
  10. Serve warm, in rectangles
Dough balls Instructions
  1. Divide dough into roughly 32 walnut sized balls.
  2. Melt butter in a frying pan.
  3. Turn off the heat.
  4. Arrange the dough balls in the pan to fit and flatten.
  5. Put lid on.
  6. Leave to rise until doubled in size (~ 15 min)
  7. Turn on to low heat.
  8. Cook until golden brown on bottom, and firm, dry and white on top (no more than 5 min) - careful you don't burn them like I did the first time.
  9. Turn over.
  10. Cook on other side (~5 min) with lid a jar.
Pita Bread Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to the highest temperature it will go, with a heavy tray (oven tray, cast iron pan or griddle) in the middle of the oven.
  2. Knead and punch the dough to knock the air out.
  3. Cut dough into 12 equal parts
  4. Roll each into a 15-18 cm circle on a floured board. Always roll away from you and turning 45° after every roll. Aim for thickness of a Kiwi 50 cent coin.
  5. Stand for 10 min
  6. Quickly transfer first dough circle to heated oven, above the heavy tray.
  7. Bake. Remove before the bread browns (2-3 min total)
  8. Put the cooked bread in a plastic bag to retain moisture
  9. Repeat until all cooked.
Round Rolls Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 220° C
  2. Knead and punch the dough to knock the air out.
  3. [Optional Step] Scrunch flavour of choice into dough
  4. Shape dough into 18-24 round balls
  5. Place on an oiled or floured baking tray.
  6. [Optional Step] Brush optional milk or egg over surface to give a shine
  7. [Optional Step] Sprinkle flavour choice over rolls.
  8. Cover lightly with plastic cling film
  9. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size
  10. Bake at 220° C until browned, top and bottom (10-15 min)
  11. They are cooked when they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  12. Place on rack to cool
Notes
  1. You can freeze the pizza bases. Bake the bases for five minutes, cool, then freeze. Do not thaw before cooking. Just top as normal then bake for an extra five minutes (so 15-20 minutes rather than 10-15 minutes).
  2. Rolls can be plain or flavoured. Flavours can be either scrunched inside or used as a covering.
Balagan Recipes http://balaganrecipes.info/

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