Tag Archives: Dough

Fresh Bread

“Was your dad a baker? ‘Cos you’ve got hot buns!”

Well, baking bread is not only about them hot buns (even though it really is). It’s actually pretty fun and extremely rewarding. When that batch of freshly baked bread rolls come out of your oven, you’d be smiling from ear to ear.

I made some bread with Sarah that day and we got our recipe from Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef.

  • 30g/1oz fresh yeast or 3 x 7g sachets dried yeast
  • 30g/1oz honey (or sugar)
  • 625ml/just over 1 pint tepid water
  • 1kg/just over 2lb strong bread flour
  • 30g/1oz salt
  • some extra flour for dusting
  1. Dissolve the yeast and honey (or sugar) in half the tepid water
  2. On a clean surface, make a mountain of the flour. Then make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Use a fork to introduce and mix the flour into the mixture, until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Then pour the remaining tepid water in and mix everything together gradually in the same way. You want to do this until you have a moist dough. (Some flours may require more water than others, so don’t be a afraid to adjust the quantities.)
  3. Knead away! Whack, smack, punch and work at the dough to activate the gluten. Do this for about  5 minutes. Great way to relieve any pent up frustrations. Hah. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, rub them together with a little extra flour.
  4. When you’re done kneading, make the dough into a roundish shape and flour the top of it. Deeply score the dough with a knife, allowing it to relax and rise with ease (and with yeast). Then, flour a deep mixing bowl as well and place the dough in. Cover with clingflim and let it rise till it doubles in size. Jamie says, “Ideally you want a warm, moist, draught-free place for the quickest prove.” This should take about 40 minutes.
  5. When the dough has grown twice its size, get it out and bash it about for about a minute or so before shaping it to whatever form you want. Then let it sit and rise again for other 40 minutes or so. This second proving is extremely crucial as it’s the time your bread becomes delicately soft and lovely.
  6. Preheat your oven to 180ºC.
  7. Cooking the bread now requires tender handling and patience. No more hard bashes and violent grabbing. You want the air in the bread to stay inside, so gently place the bread into the preheated oven, without slamming the door.
  8. Monitor the baking, take it out when the bread’s beautifully bronzed and hollow-sounding when tapped. Leave them on a rack to cool.

Here’s what we made with this batch of dough:

Bread Rolls

Ham Rolls

Chocolate Buns

Cinnamon Rolls

Get your hands into some flour and yeast, and knead away today.

Mummy’s Pizza

This one’s for you, Mummy. 

I remember fondly, the first time I’d ever had pizza. It was homemade, and Mummy made everything from scratch. Before I knew pre-made pizza doughs existed, I discovered the use of a rolling pin.  I sat by the dining table, as Mummy dusted the surface with flour and rolled the dough round and flat like a pro. I begged her to let me have a go, and wound up making a mess.

It was not long before Pizza Hut and other pizza delivery companies made their killing in the market, and in my house. Pizza was never the same again. Their crusts were incredibly thick and heavy, overwhelming bready and thus, unforgivingly filling.

Eventually, I grew older and found myself paying for better pizza. Better, meaning pizzas with thiner and lighter crusts, toppings laid on with love and consideration, entire faces of dough made to look beautiful. I guess good things do come with a price. Even so, good memories are priceless.

Long story short, I had some pretty good pizza a couple of days back and I thought I’d have a go at making my own.

Thin-Crust Pizza Dough

It was my friend’s birthday party two nights ago and I made six 9-inch pizzas. Here are the numbers for the dough:

  • 2.5 mugs of plain flour
  • 0.75 mugs of tepid water
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 0.5 tbsp of salt
  • 7 gms of dry yeast
Dump out the flour onto a (clean) tabletop and make a well in the centre. Pour the water into the well and using a fork, introduce the flour to the water, bit by bit. Before it gets thick, add the oil, salt and yeast. Then combine everything and knead till smooth. Once done, place into a big bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 45-60 minutes. Roll out as desired. Anything edible can go on it, so go crazy.