Saturday, May 14, 2011

Adventures with bread: 1

I spent a weekend in Germany a few weeks ago and was reminded of how many different types of bread are available over there. Bread is almost always bought fresh, and each supermarket bakery has at least 10 types of bread, most of them using whole-wheat, rye or spelt- proper dense, crusty bread. I think it's a shame that it's so expensive to buy this sort of bread in the UK, especially when bread is simple and inexpensive to make. So I decided it was probably time to start making my own! I have bought a German bread cookery book especially. I have yet to make a sour-dough starter, which most of the recipes call for, so this first attempt is made from a simple yeast dough- with surprisingly good results.

This loaf is moist and buttery, if a little crumbly. 



Starter dough

-100 strong white bread flour
-1g fresh yeast (available in chilled section of supermarket or from bakery)
-100ml water


-100g butter, in cubes
-20g fresh yeast
-50g liquid malt extract
-200ml lukewarm water
-400g strong white bread flour
-15g salt

-Flour for dusting
-1 loaf tin
-Sunflower oil for greasing
-Clean garden spray bottle filled with water

1. The night before you wish to make the bread, mix the starter dough ingredients together, cover and put in the fridge overnight. Take the butter and starter dough out of the fridge one hour before starting to make the bread, to bring it to room temperature. 

2. Mix the yeast, malt extract, and water together until there are no lumps left. Then tip in the flour, salt, and butter and mix well. Mix in the starter dough mixture and knead for 10 minutes. As this is quite a wet dough it is best to this in a food processor (with the dough hook attachment), 5 minutes on a slow speed then 5 on a fast speed. 

3. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface, dust with flour, cover, and leave for 30 minutes to rise. You will need quite a lo of flour for dusting as it is quite sticky. At 10 minute intervals, use your hands to punch flat the dough, stretch out and fold over the edges on themselves and turn over. 

4. Grease the loaf tin. Shaking off any excess flour, form a loaf shape then put the dough in the tin. Cover and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes. After 10 minutes rising, use a very sharp knife to score a 2 cm line down the centre of the dough. This helps create a nice crust. 

5. Preheat the oven to 230C. Put the bread on the middle shelf of the oven. Using the spray bottle, squirt on and around the bread to create steam. This keeps the bread moist and gives a nice crust. Bake for 45 minutes. After 15 minutes, spray again with water and turn the temperature down to 200C.

6. The bread is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre of the bread comes out clean. Difficult as it may be, leave the bread to cool completely on wire rack before slicing. 


  1. You did a wonderful job with this. I haven't tried making my own, but I plan on doing it soon.I followed you from the foodie blog roll and I'd love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this bread widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about how to make bread,Thanks!

  2. Hi there

    Thanks- i've added the widget to the post- I think! (new to this!)


  3. Great explanation, thanks for the posting!
    Bakery Equipment