I’ve enjoyed baking my own bread for years now. I was very into making different kinds of breads, and then kinda stopped doing that for a while. I always wanted to bake my way through Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. I’m going to try and do that this year. Think that would be super cool. His recipes are always perfect and clear.
Anyhoo, this recipe is from another source, but it has been my go-to recipe for bread for all these years. Its easy, and completely versatile. You could use it to bake a regular white loaf, or add ingredients to make it a flavoured bread. The proofed dough could be also used to make buns or garlic twists. Or really anything. Its a blank slate. Add your signature.
Basic White Bread
4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Instant Active Dry Yeast
3 tsp Salt
4 tbsp Sugar (this makes it a little sweet, feel free to reduce the sugar to your taste level)
2 tbsp Buter, melted
400-450 ml Water
Mix all the dry ingredients, and add water a little bit at a time until they come together into a shaggy ball. Add water, or flour, or both, if needed (use extra flour sparingly). Put the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. While kneading feel free to add any flavors you might like, or leave it plain. Place in a well oiled bowl, cover with a cheese cloth and store in a warm place until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
Punch down the bread, knead a couple of minutes. Now you can shape the dough as you’d like. Here, I have made two loaves. One is a Cinnamon Swirl Bread. For that, I stretched the dough out into a rectangle, covered with sugar and cinnamon powder and then rolled it up tight, shaped it into a loaf and placed in a well oiled loaf pan.
For the other one, I had already added fried onions, green chillies, cilantro and cumin to the initial dough and made an Indian-style masala bread.
You can also leave it plain. Just take the dough and shape into a loaf or buns or a free form loaf and place in a well oiled pan. Cover with the cheese cloth or linen and allow to double again in size.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when knocked on gently. Allow to cool slightly, take out of the pan and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. This wait allows the bread to settle and enhances flavour. I think.
Serve warm. So so good.