After hints of summer, the hope the sun will stay and plans to linger in the south (cuisine wise), it seems it is all back to normal: rain and more rain. I doubt I will ever get used to the endless rainy days of Brussels. Then again, what can you do except the most out of it?
Last Saturday the mother of all storms hit Brussels. There was very little to convince me to face the outside world. I even had to put the heating back on if you can imagine that. So confined to my apartment and time on my hands, I started thinking of the most time consuming recipes …. I never have time for. No surprise to anyone, bread came to mind.
At the beginning of my culinary journey I used to bake bread quite often. I think discovering the secrets of the dough rising, the texture and flavours, which can be combined as well as the process itself caught my attention.
There is nothing easier, or more satisfying than making bread. I love the feel of dough, I love the kneading, and the smell of bread baking is what heaven must smell like.
With the ingredients in the house and Jamie Oliver on hand, we set on our adventure to bake the perfect basic bread (recipe pg. 312). The rain, of course, continued.
3x7gr sachets of dried yeast
625ml tepid water
1kg strong bread flour
extra flour for dusting
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in half the tepid water.
On a clean surface, make a pile of the flour mixed with salt. Make a well in the middle, and add the yeast mixture. Then pour the other half of the tepid water, and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough.
Knead the bread to develop the gluten – at this stage it is all about finger feeling. If the dough sticks to your fingers, add some extra flour.
Shape the dough into a ball and cover it with a damp towel. Then let the dough rest, till it doubles in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, knock out the air by bashing it around for a minute.
To get mini bread rolls, we equally divided the dough and placed it into a muffin baking tray. Each dough ball was then seasoned with extra ingredients: rosemary, olives, salt, dried tomatoes … let your imagination run wild.
Gently place the muffin tray into the preheated oven, 20 to 30min.
And then all I can advise you is to let the bread cool for a while on a rack before tucking in. Talking from experience, there were some cases of burned tongues I know of …