perfect crumb

How to Make Homebaked Plain Bread

This recipe is an old time favorite for how to make homebaked plain bread that we have been perfecting over the course of the better portion of the last 4 years.

Our passion for baking has grown over time, but definitely started when we finally got around to watching the Great British Baking show…And watch it we did.
As we zoomed through episode after episode, season after season, we were enamored by the creativity in the kitchen. The heart warming stories of the contestants, and the way they always managed to include their families, even though they were far from home.

These days Zee and I are far from home…They say home is where the heart is, and in the midst of this pandemic, our hearts have felt torn having moved at such a pivotal time as the world recalibrate’s to a new norm. It has been extra hard to adjust primarily because we are essential workers and have to brave the storm day in day out. This last month Zee tested positive for Covid-19, so we were advised to hunker down and isolate as we waited for him to recover. As I watched over him, tossing and turning in pains, sick to his stomach, and some days responding very little while sleeping a lot. I thought to myself, nothing else matters than seeing my family well…

So I took to the kitchen and made some homemade chicken & rice soup, hoping I could get some nutrition in him. It turned out so well, that after days of having barely even looked at food he had 3 big bowls…Then was ill that night and the following day. So we started him on the B.R.A.T. diet. It was only a matter of days before we ran out of the supplies necessary to upkeep that diet, as we honestly were not fully prepared for 2 full weeks of isolation, even after a no-contact grocery pick up my boss helped me with (shout out to Michael! You will never know how much I appreciate the sincerity of your concern and jump to action to help us. So much so that I am crying in gratitude as I type this).

Anyways… left with the option to reach out for another grocery haul, or to step up my baking game, I decided to go with the latter. So I made some homebaked plain bread, and it did the job… A few days later Zee was back to eating normal food…And life resumed back to semi-normal…

We feasted on some tasty homemade comfort foods & settled in to our new home together, for one of the first times since the pandemic struck.

I hope more than anything that as this story finds its way to you, that your families are happy, healthy, and finding contentment in this moment to pause and appreciate each other. As we, much like the rest of the world, must take this time to recalibrate.

Peace & love to you all.

~Vee

Ingredients laid out & ready to bake

Ingredients

840g All-Purpose Flour
24oz Warm Water
4Tsp Coarse Ground Pink Himalayan Salt
4Tsp Instant Dry Yeast

Recipe

Start by taring your kitchen scale to whatever measuring container you will be using for your all-purpose flour. Then pour and weigh 840g and set aside.

Next pour 24oz of water into a glass liquid measuring jug and set aside. Get yourself two small bowls, to the first bowl add 4Tsp of coarse ground pink Himalayan salt and set aside. Then to the second bowl add 4Tsp of instant dry yeast.

Now it’s time for mixing

Take the bowl with your all-purpose flour, and add to it your bowl of pink Himalayan salt, followed by your bowl of instant dry yeast. Then, using a fork, whisk it all the dry ingredients together.

Next, take your bowl of dry ingredients and separate it equally into a another bowl. Then warm your measured 24oz of water (we used a microwave, you can use whatever method works for you, just don’t let it get too hot to touch).

Now its really time for mixing…

Grab a wooden spoon and slowly pour your warm water into one of your two bowls of flour, stirring as you pour. Take your time because you really want to make sure that you properly incorporate your liquid and dry ingredients. It should like porridge to begin with, then as you add your remaining bowl of flour, a cup at a time, it will slowly start to form.

Did I say mixing this dough is a work out already??? Don’t worry…your arm won’t fall off…Keep mixing.

Once your dough is throughly mixed, you are going to take your Ninja Foodi and set it to the yogurt function, set the temperature to ferment by turning the dial, and press start, allowing the machine to warm up a little (to get the machine to time your rise for 30mins, you can adjust the timer again once it has started warming and reduce to 30mins).

Next, pour a little olive oil in the pot, and rub it around with a paper towel to prevent the dough from sticking.
(If you don’t have a Ninja Foodi for proofing, you can set your dough in your microwave, or simply onto of your counter, it will take roughly twice the time)

Form your dough into a ball as best you can…This is a sticky process…

Now cover the dough with a wet kitchen towel, and cover your Ninja Foodi with a glass lid from a spare pot, allowing the dough to rise on the ferment setting for 30mins. Punch down at the end of 30mins, reform its shape and repeat one more time.

When you are done proofing for the second time, take a small pinch of dough and do a window pane test. This involves taking a piece of dough and stretching it between your fingers to check the gluten formation, it should be almost transparent while holding its structure.

Window pane test, with some STICKY HANDS

Now that your dough is ready, go ahead and remove it from the Ninja foodi and toss it onto wooden cutting block or your counter after having lightly dusted the surface. Then cut into 4 equal parts, and free form rectangular loaves, allowing them to sit while your oven comes to 475*F.

(If your dough is still a little sticky, don’t worry. Just add a little extra flour to your surface and the top of your dough ball and work it in as you from your loaves)

Now it’s time to Get Baked!!!

Just before you toss your loaves in the oven, be sure to score them with a razor. Set your timer for 20mins, and pop them in. Check to see if your loaves are finished cooking by removing them from the oven, lifting them off the parchment paper and giving the underside a good knock. If they feel hollow and the bottom is firm, you are good to go. If they feel a little tender below and a little more dense, pop them in the oven for another 5mins and check again before turning your oven off.
(A sharp knife will work, but the dough is still sticky, so for tidier cut, I prefer a razor)

There is nothing better than some homebaked plain bread! Especially with a bowl of delicious homemade soup!

Hope you all enjoy!

~Vee

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