Techniques, ingredients, recipes, and equipment
The brilliant thing about making bread is that there is a lot of time when you don’t have to do anything because the bread is doing something on its own. That means you can do something else while you bake bread. This is the busy person’s dream. If you are a planner, you can plan to fill the time when you are waiting for the bread to do it’s thing by doing your thing. If you are not a planner there are probably loads of things you can think of to do at the last minute. Sitting and reading the newspaper is an idea. Other ideas include bathing, getting dressed, getting others bathed and dressed, working, gardening, chatting on the phone, doing e mail, surfing, cooking, having a nap, watching tv…there are so many things you can do while you make bread. You can even sleep while your bread is rising. Have a look at one very busy man’s bread story.
Take a course with us and learn how easy it is to make your own bread.
Flour, water, salt, and yeast
That’s right. Only four ingredients are necessary to bake a tasty loaf of bread.
Wheat, rye, and spelt flour all contain the type of gluten that acts like a balloon and traps the CO2 created by the yeast as it eats the flour and drinks the water, causing the bread to rise. Some people are allergic to gluten and have to have gluten free bread. They can either have flour in which the gluten has been replaced by xanthene gum (something needs to be the balloon) or they can have bread made with gluten free flour like maize, buckwheat, rice, or chick pea.
Take one of our courses and you will learn to bake bread as well as learn more about flour – it’s the main event in bread afterall. The more you know about flour the more informed your choices will be when it comes to baking or buying your bread.
When you first begin, you will probably need a recipe. As you gain in confidence you will be amazed at how forgiving bread is. You can throw in just about anything and it usually works out as long as there is sufficient yeast, good quality, fresh flour and water, and you knead it well. And if it is ugly, remember: everything is good toasted. There are plenty of recipes here and on the Bread Angels site. You can also invest in books but pick the best bread books – and here our our top picks.
Take one of our courses and you will learn to bake bread – learn how to bake focaccia and ciabatta, learn easy recipes for hot cross buns, discover how to bake french fougasse, learn to make prezels and learn to bake bagels. If you are feeling adventurous, learn to bake sourdough bread. There are plenty of courses on offer. Have a look around to see what you like!
There is some essential bakery equipment that you need to make bread. The equipment you need to make bread includes a good baking tray, some bowls, a scale if you are in the certain countries, some measuring cups and spoons if you are in other countries, cooling racks and an oven. The equipment you may want to have to make bread includes rising baskets, bread tins, a lame (a razor on a stick to make cuts in the top of bread), rolling pins, a plant sprayer, non stick baking parchment, some little brushes to brush on a glaze, and if you get serious, a mixer. There are plenty of stockists including Lakeland, Bakery Bits, not to mention the main manufacturers websites, but don’t underestimate the power of E Bay, Amazon, and the good old fashioned garage sale, boot sale or second hand store to get essential equipment you need to bake bread.
The piece of equipment we really would recommend includes little plastic dough scrapers. They are useful and they are cheap. The piece of equipment we would not recommend includes a baking stone. It takes FOREVER to heat up an oven with 1/4 inch of granite inside it. The results are no better than baking on a hot baking tray. So just put a baking tray in the oven and heat it up. When the oven is up to temperature, scatter some semolina or polenta on the tray, pop the bread/pizza on it and bake. For the home oven, this is truly the most practical and economical solution.