If you’d like to start baking, begin with bread, writes Zuhaila Sedek
BAKING bread is surprisingly quite easy.
This I realised after attending a bread making workshop recently. Not only that, there is also a sense of pride when you lay eyes on the dough that you kneaded coming out from the oven. Its aroma is heavenly too.
The workshop was part of the Bread and Breakfast With Naturel Organic event. It was guided by Chef Michael Elfwing from Senses in Hilton Kuala Lumpur.
Elfwing believes that anyone can bake bread. All that is needed is imagination and of course, the will to let yourself loose in the kitchen.
“Everyone can bake, but not everyone can follow a recipe,” says the chef de cuisine.
First-timers must follow the recipe strictly.
“Bread making is a science. Once you find a recipe that you like, you can introduce different flavours or shapes. This way, one simple recipe can be diversified,” he says adding that one can also add nuts or seeds to the recipe.
If you are not into baking and want to give it a try, baking bread is a good start because it is more forgiving than baking pastries.
“It is very hard to over-mix or over-knead bread dough, but pastry dough is more delicate,” explains Elfwing.
Malaysians prefer soft rolls and breads. For such breads, the usage of oil (such as olive oil) acts to lighten the bread.
It is different for butter, though. This dairy product makes bread “heavier” and adds sweetness to it. Shortening, which is rarely used for bread, creates a flaky texture for pastries.
And who says you need a bread maker to make bread at home?
“You don’t necessarily need a bread maker, just a scale and an oven will do,” says Elfwing.
“A helpful husband to knead the dough is good too!,” the chef jokes.
We share a simple bread recipe courtesy of Naturel Organic. Happy kneading!
IN ancient Egyptian times, mothers sent their children to school with plenty of bread and beer for their lunch!
Walnut & Yoghurt Bread
100g Naturel Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
500g bread (high protein) flour
25g milk powder
8g instant dried yeast
30g caster sugar
100g plain yoghurt
10g sea salt
100g walnuts (chopped)
Some bread flour for dusting
Some beaten egg for glaze (optional)
Step 1: Mix dough
Place flour, milk powder, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Make a well shape in the mixture and add water, extra virgin olive oil, yoghurt and salt. Mix until the dough forms a ball.
Step 2: Knead
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and supple. The dough should stretch into a thin membrane without breaking. Mix in walnuts.
Step 3: First proofing
Form dough into a smooth ball and wrap loosely in cling film. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Shape
Unwrap dough and knead lightly. To make round buns, divide dough into 60g to 80g portions and shape into balls. Place them 5cm apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper. For glossy finish, brush the top with beaten egg.
Step 5: Second proofing
Cover dough with cling film or a moist tea towel and leave to proof for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Step 6: Bake
Preheat oven to 190°C and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown in colour.