Bread it’s Coming back to our KitchensA table without bread is not a table but bread is a table on its own.Scottish Gaelic Proverb
Bread baking is making its way back to the home kitchen, it has had a new resurgence in society today, why? Because it is an art, which rewards the setting of any table with a look and taste that can only be met by a fresh home cooked loaf of bread. So our mission is to give you some basic direction on making not just a loaf of bread but a great loaf with lots of taste and character. We will attempt to give you enough information so that you can make a really good loaf of bread for that occasional get together or if you wish to help you grow to pursue your own particular niche.
As a culture, we have been baking bread for thousands of years. It has only been since the industrial age that we have veered from this home hearth as something to time consuming and unimportant, but! then you have a piece of that bread (you know the one) in that restaurant or event that just made you drool! And that’s why you’re here.
Sites generally promote making a loaf of bread as “so simple” with more flavour than you can ever get from a store & It can be, but it can also be a vexing avocation that will tantalize you with some small diadems of success, that will only prove to captivate you all the more. As I said there are some simple methods of making a great loaf for the table and you will find a hundred variations for each step that will be preached to you; I will attempt to show the easy ones, with some options on what directions you can take and to help personalize it to your particular tastes. Eventually if pursued it will ultimately be your creativity signature that will make your loaf unique to you. This is why bread makers of old signed their loaves with scouring. It was their mark as it were.
So with a little planning some flour and yeast, you can bring some simple recipes’ to life, in a Dutch oven; Dutch ovens offer a great cooking platform as they retain the heat and steam extremely well for baking bread.
Cast Iron or enamel coated Dutch oven, it is up to you. Here are some basic’s to help you make up your mind.
A cast iron pot that is seasoned properly will be a superior non-stick cooking wear; cast iron is more durable; cast iron will add iron to your diet, and you will most certainly get a better deal with a cast. However! Cast Iron, loses its seasonings when you cook with acid ingredients; cast iron is also always greasy and most people don’t care for that. This is what makes the enamelled is the popular choice. Ultimately it depends on your cooking preferences in the kitchen on which one or size you decide on. Whether it is cast or enamelled, buy quality, it’ll last you a lifetime.
I thought I would put together some simple conversions for a frame of reference to those who are using the U.S system of measurement. I am Canadian so I get the confusion of trying to convert to metric; Canada had the metric system implemented when I was a boy while our biggest trading partner, the U.S was still on the standard system, not the smartest move but that’s Quebec politicians! there got my dig.
Baking is a science of mixing ingredients based on weights, simply because volumes are never accurate i.e. 1 cup of flour may weigh 4 ½ oz or 128 gm another may weigh 4 ¼ oz or 120 gm this is because the flours are always going to be different due to season, milling, region etc.; or what type of measurement US cup, Imperial cup or Metric? Plus this does not equate the guesstimates we make by eye either! Safe to say we cannot bake with any consistency or accuracy with this type of beta. Hopefully, my point is made so let’s throw out the Mom’s recipes and convert to weight. As the rest of the world uses metric, converting to metric makes the most sense; its also easy to do, most measuring tools have metric conversions built-in, scales, cups, spoons. BTW It is ok to use volumes at times, example, a teaspoon or 5 ml when approximating some added inclusion, like rosemary or pepper, of course, I do it all the time. However, when working with your dough let’s keep it consistent, so always verify on a scale, that’s your go-to.
Amounts have been rounded to the nearest digit
1 cup Bread flour equals
4 1/2 oz
1 cup water equals
8 1/2 oz
1 tbls salt
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dry yeast
For an accurate cooking conversion calculator for all your ingredients try the following link it’s the best I’ve found