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Fresh home made bread

Nothing can come close to a fresh, home made loaf of bread

Fresh home-baked bread

Fresh home-made bread

Fresh, home made bread. There’s nothing to compare to the satisfaction of removing baked loaves fresh from the oven with the anticipation of eating warm bread, made with love.

For me, baking bread doesn’t involve a machine to throw a heap of ingredients in and leave alone for an hour or two. It’s a tactile business I enjoy from start to finish, although these days the Kitchenaid makes a cleaner job of mixing the dough.

I used to make such a mess before I started using the mixer to bring the ingredients together, ready to be kneaded by hand, which is what I enjoy the most and is always a bit different – doughs can be wet, sticky and very challenging to work with or supple and smooth.

Loaves rising
Pictured: loaves rising – you can help a baguette shape hold by popping a rolling pin on either side of a long sausage shape.

Whatever the dough’s consistency at the start, I just love that smell of it when baking and the magical moment when the bottom is knocked and it’s ready to take from the oven.

The challenge is always how to wait the obligatory minimum 10 minutes before cutting that first slice and spreading with butter and jam or whatever your tastebuds desire. Mmmmm…

This recipe uses a wet starter that is left to do its thing for a few hours. When ready, it does wonders for the bread’s flavour and texture through the short time it has to start a fermentation process. You can eliminate this with great results if you’re pressed for time (or make the starter the night before and leave in a cool place to do its thing until morning). Just mix all the ingredients up at once and proceed with the rise-form-rise-bake (-eat-enjoy!) as outlined below.

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