I am not a professional baker nor would I consider myself as someone having exceptional qualities in the baking department. I am a first grade teacher that has cooking as a hobby. It is fun to learn something new and yes…I enjoy food. Making it and eating it! I am posting this recipe with my father in my mind. He has always told me that if I wanted to learn how to do something, I should like it, or at least, learn to like it. Start with a positive attitude and jump in!
So, for those of you who feel a bit iffy about making bread, all I can tell you is that I have learned to make a few things because I do the following: 1. Read the recipe thoroughly (That sounds obvious but I have made the teensy booboo before of not reading things carefully because I was so excited to get started) 2. Read other people´s blogs and experiences and 3. Learn from my mistakes. Experience is often the best teacher!
I have to share this recipe with you because it really IS that good. It is from a cookbook that is a bestseller here in Spain called, ¨Pan con Webos Fritos¨ by Susanna Perez. The recipe is not hard but it does take time. This does NOT mean that you are in the kitchen slaving for ages. What it DOES mean is you will follow a few steps and spend very little time in the kitchen. Believe me, please. You won´t regret trying this and you will want to make this once a week. The smell in the house as it is baking is truly divine.
A few notes about this recipe which are worthwhile:
This recipe uses fresh yeast and up until a year ago, I had absolutely no idea that it even existed. This obviously reflects my culinary saavy 😉
This is what it looks like and can be found in supermarkets. Probably in the butter or cheese section.
Personally, I prefer this to the dry yeast. I love the smell of it. Be careful, its freshness lasts for about two weeks so check the date before you buy it. I have tried this recipe with dry yeast too and didn´t notice any considerable difference but the bread rose more with the fresh yeast. If you prefer to use dry, go for it. Here is a conversion: If you are converting from dry yeast to fresh divide the amount of dry yeast you need by 3 and you will get the amount of fresh yeast you need . If doing the opposite, multiply by 3.
This recipe starts with a poolish which is a starter. You make it the day before ( 5 minutes of your time) and put it in the fridge for the next day.
😆On that note, let´s go!;)
The day before you make the bread you will make your poolish.
200 grams strong bread flour
200 grams water (room temperature)
5 grams fresh yeast (or 15 grams dry)
Mix all the ingredients well and put the a container. Put it in the fridge for the following day.
When you mix, it will look like this:
Take the poolish out of the fridge one hour before making your bread. You will see some activity possibly but nothing major, so relax. You are doing well so far!
All the poolish
300 grams plain white flour
150 grams water
5 grams fresh yeast (or 15 grams dry)
10 grams salt
Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.
Yep…use your hands. It will be wet and sticky but don’t worry. You can lightly oil your hands and counter with sunflower oil and it helps prevent too much stickiness, but some is unavoidable. A trick I learned is knead it briefly in the bowl and as soon as it starts coming together, put it on the oiled countertop. Begin kneading and if you find that it is too clumpy and sticky, stop for a few minutes and let the dough do the work. It will naturally start coming together. BUT KNEAD FOR TEN MINUTES. It does not need to be ten minutes straight. But if a recipe says to knead for an X amount of time, do it. If not, the bread won’t rise properly. At the same time, don’t overdo it!
Make sure you form a roll and lightly coat it with flour.
Place it in a large bowl or basket
And cover it.
And now leave it until it doubles in size. The doubling time can vary. It goes faster in summer. I made this on Sunday and the doubling time took two hours. Don’t fret. Check it now and then but relax.
When it doubles, it will be impressive!
And you haven’t even baked it yet!
Preheat your oven to 250°. Have a small glass of water ready.
Place a sheet of oven paper on a baking tray and carefully flip the bread over into the tray. It won’t be hard.
Make 4 incisions with a sharp knife.
Place the bread in the oven.Then quickly pour the glass of water on the bottom level of the oven and quickly shut the oven door. The steam makes the bread rise!
Wait for 5 minutes then open the door a bit to let some steam escape. Open it for 5 seconds or so.
Lower the temperature to 220 ° and bake for 30- 35 minutes more. Keep an eye on it and use foil to cover it if the top gets too brown.
Have fun and enjoy! Xxxx Natascha