Yesterday afternoon Jane and I worked on a short video about how I bake bread. My method is based on the one given in Richard Bertinet’s excellent book, Dough although, following further reading on the Internet, I also incorporate a stage between mixing and working the dough for the yeast to get to work. I understand this is called autolysis and it makes the mixture much easier to work.
The ingredients are flagged up during the video but the complete list is 700g bread flour, 14g salt, 14g bread yeast and 490g water. I also make use of a plastic scraper, a water squirter (in this case originally bought as a pump action oil spray) and a pizza stone for baking the bread, as well as some polenta for dusting the board. The video suggests a temperature of 220°C although in fact I turned the oven down to 200°C, as our fan oven is quite fierce. It does want to be very hot when it goes in though.
There is flexibility over the flour and quanties. I find it easiest to work with at least 50% strong white bread flour but you can mix it with wholemeal, brown or other bread flours. Completely wholemeal also works but is a stickier mixture and benefits from a pre-fermented starter, which is another area of technique. For each 100g of flour, you need 2g of salt, 2g of yeast and 70g of water. The amount I used makes a good sized bloomer for the house but you can scale up or down to your needs – often I make three loaves in my silicon bread moulds with 1000g of flour, etc.
The soundtrack, which fades in part-way through the piece is a performance of my song, Faraway Street by the Pico Brown Five (you can get links from my original announcement of the gig in February 2008). I picked it mainly because it was about the right length and there are no qualms about my rights to use it! I hope you enjoy the tune and perhaps turn out a crusty loaf or two.