One Lesson a day: Breads (18/11/2021)

Our first of ‘One Lesson A Day’

In what will be a long running series of articles, One lesson a day will focus on providing a feed of information every day to keep everyone topped up and knowledgeable in all things hospitality. From food & wine, to theory & safety.

Today we’re talking bread and its versatility on what it can be;
– Basic white & brown
– Sourdough
– Ciabatta
– Rye
– Soda
– Focaccia
– Muffin
– Naan (Flat)
– Brioche
…and that’s just the basics that doesn’t incorporate variations & flavours

What is Bread?
The concept of bread is a form of flour that is mixed with water and combined with a rising agent such as yeast or baking soda.

What about a recipes?
There’s plenty of recipes across the internet and in ancient recipe books passed down through generations of family. Ultimately your best approach is to try out a recipe and then build on that. The NCOH belief is every recipe is only a guideline that we build on.

Our basic bread recipe takes a quantity of white bread flour and works the rest off as a percentage;
– 1kg bread flour
– 500g water (50% of 1kg)
– 100g oil (10%)
– 30g fresh yeast (3%) or 15g dried yeast
– 20g salt (2%)
– 20g sugar (2%)

The Method/science?
The concept of bread isn’t hard or complicated (as much as we might make it sound as such). The ultimate goal is to promote growth of the rising agent.
When talking about food safety we understand that bacteria grows when it has suitable conditions; warmth, moisture & available food.
If we think about how we can best promote the yeast bacterial growth, We can make the main stage of bread making a walk in the park.

Also thinking about the control measures in ‘salt’. We want to add salt to our bread to give it a bit of depth, but we might need to consider leaving the salt until a later stage as the salt will kill off some of our yeast.

When proving we should think about moisture and ensure our dough isn’t dry. Using a wet cloth can promote growth of the yeast.
We should also make sure our dough is never bone dry either, Our dough should be sticky and have moisture that the yeast can consume.

But ultimately, you can just mix all the ingredients together, work on a surface, prove, knock back, shape and prove, and then bake without needing to overthink anything at all….We know…we’ve tried it….and it works (with our recipe anyway)

Baking the bread?
Baking the bread is essentially the killing of the yeast and drying out the dough so it can be sliced. There’s plenty of different methods you can use and time/temperature combinations to use. Some recipes will state to use a combination oven with 40% steam on a temperature of 220’C. Some will state to use an over without the assistance of a fan.

In our eyes, you can use any method you like as long as the end product tastes fantastic.

We like to play with our recipes and food as much as possible, we had plenty of fun trying out different types of cooking with our breads to see the difference in quality, flavour and texture from cooking at different temperatures. We found for our basic white bread the best baking method came from placing in a oven without fan assistance at 200’C for 18 minutes for a loaf of bread. We’re sure there’s an even better baking method we can use, but until we’ve tried them all, we’ll never know.

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