RECIPES: 3 easy breads to make at home
Making any bread from scratch can be a daunting task and it is easy to be intimidated by the whole process.
We spoke to chefs to share the importance of making your own bread at home during the lockdown.
Bontle Molefe said most people now have the time to try all the things they have always wanted to try, and we now have the opportunity to learn new things and involve the whole family.
“Baking is such a healing activity. It's great for putting the mind in a happy place because it allows you to focus your mind without overworking it,” said Molefe.
Lungile Makiza, a lecturer at Capsicum Culinary Studio said baking is a great way to take your mind off the everyday stresses of being on lockdown and it’s an excellent indoor activity.
“Baking is a great activity for anyone and everyone who can follow instructions can do it. Unlike cooking, which can be daunting to some because it requires quite a bit of improvisation, baking simply requires you to stick to the instruction as per the recipe you are following, and you are guaranteed results,” said Makiza.
Jenny Morris said that baking bread is productive, relaxing and will teach us patience.
“The kneading of the dough is mesmerising and the feeling of the dough coming alive in your hands empties the mind. Bread is the staff of life and we eat it every day. You cannot quantify the pleasure of a slice of freshly baked homemade bread spread thickly with cold salty butter,” said Morris.
Chef Pumla Brooke-Thomae said that it is a good idea to try out new habits during the covid-19 outbreak for several reasons. That firstly new habits can be used as a coping mechanism, and secondly, new habits can help to prevent negative thoughts and panic and work as therapy, which is much needed during this outbreak.
Thomae said that for beginners she would suggest trying out no-knead bread first.
“They are a great way of experimenting with baking as they take out the hard work of kneading. The beauty of no-knead bread is that they are a matter of throwing all the ingredients wet and dry into one bowl then, waiting for the dough to proof until doubled in size and baking right after that, with minimum mess.
Below are recipes you can try at home.
Chef Lungi’s Soft Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp of yeast
1 tbsp of sugar
2 tsp of salt
¼ cup oil
Warm water to mix.
Preheat your oven to 160°C
In a large bowl, mix all your flour, yeast and sugar and stir. Add salt and oil, stir. Add enough water to wet the ingredient then mix to form a dough. Knead for about
15 minutes until the dough is smooth then put it on a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise to double the size. When your dough has doubled in size, knead it back down, and place in an oiled bread tin and bake for 20 minutes.
4 cups cake flour
2 tsp salt
4 tsp sugar
2 tbsp roughly chopped rosemary
10g instant yeast
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp olive oil (sunflower will do)
3 eggs beaten and topped up with lukewarm water to make up 400ml
First, place all the dry ingredients including the rosemary into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the oil and three-quarters of the water, and mix to form a soft dough. Add a little more water if need be; if it is too wet, add a small amount of flour.
Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic to the touch; about 15 minutes. Place the dough back into the bowl and oil the top; cover with a clean cloth and place it in a warm place to rise to twice its size.
Once the bread dough has proved, punch it down.
Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it into a rectangle.
Divide into two, roll each piece into a sausage.
Using a pair of scissors cut each piece of dough into 6 pieces at 45-degree angles.
Place the pieces of cut dough onto a well-oiled baking tray and dust them with flour. Cover with a clean tea towel.
Let the rolls rise to twice their size in a warm place.
Bake in a 200°C pre-heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove and cool on a wire rack.
Recipe by Jenny Morris.
Overnight No-knead Bread
6 cups bread or cake wheat flour
½ tsp yeast
2 tsp salt
3 cups water, lukewarm
Using a wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well incorporated then cover with cling film to proof overnight, ± 6 hours.
The following morning, preheat the oven to 200° Celsius.
Lay parchment or baking paper down into a baking pan and sprinkle liberally with flour. Tip the dough into the floured baking pan and immediately divide it into 2 round loaves or any shape you prefer, pulling the dough from underneath towards the top.
After shaping the dough, leave in the pan for the second proofing until doubled in size, then bake for 45 minutes.
The bread is done when the aroma of freshly baked bread fills the room and the tops look golden brown sounding hollow when tapped.
Leave about 15 minutes to cool before serving.
Recipe by Pumla Brooke-Thomae.