Updated: Jul 17
Simple to prepare and rewarding with flavour and texture bread. You can make it on the same day using only four basic ingredients. Moreover, no preservatives and additives make it a lot healthier than bread that you buy in the shop.
⦁ 600g (21.1oz) strong bread flour ( higher amount of protein than better )
⦁ 350g (12.3oz) warm water ( 30C / 86F ) or cold if you make an overnight starter.
⦁ 12g (0.42oz) bakers yeast ( 6g (0.21oz) active dry yeast or 3g (0.1oz) instant yeast ) half of the amount if you prepare the overnight starter.
⦁ 12g (0.42oz) salt
1. Start by preparing poolish starter, in the bowl mix yeast with water until dissolved and add half of the flour, mix again and cover with cloth or clingfilm. Allow the starter to breathe by leaving some unsealed space. This can be done on the same day for a period no shorter than 3 hours before kneading, or a day before stored in the fridge.
Poolish starter allows yeast to eat and multiply faster resulting in better flavour and texture of your bread.
2. Add remaining flour and salt to your starter, mix and knead the dough for 12 minutes if you using the mixer with dough attachment or 14 minutes if you do it by hand. If your dough is ready, upon pressing the surface will pop back. Now it is a good time to pinch 150g (5.3oz) of the dough for use in the next bake. Store it in the fridge in a sealed container for up to four days. This is called Pâte fermentée and it further increases the flavour and texture of your bake.
3. Shape your dough into a ball and place it on a lightly floured surface, dusted with flour and covered with cloth or clingfilm until doubled in size ( around 1h)
4. Now you are going to add better structure to your bread. Turn your dough upside down and press it slightly with your fingertips to flatten its surface then fold its four sides toward the middle creating a scar at the bottom, turn scar side down and shape it to a ball again then place it on a baking tray covered like before for final prove ( around 1h). If you are using high protein flour (14g+ (0.5oz)) you can repeat this step for better results.
5. Preheat your oven to 220C (428F), for a better crust and oven spring you can place a dish with boiling water inside or/and use a baking stone.
6. When your dough doubles in size again the bread is ready to be baked, score its surface with a sharp blade and place it in the oven, after 10 minutes turn the temperature down to 200C (392F) and bake for another 10 minutes.
7. When the time is up, remove the water dish and bake for another 10 minutes. Bread core temperature should reach 96C (205F) and it is ready. Cool it on a rack and store it wrapped tightly or in the paper bag. To refresh, heat it up to 60C (140F).
Sound of the bread crust, turn the volume up :
Try to use a different type of flour for the poolish starter.
Add something that you like to your bread like pesto or cheese.
If you would like to make even better bread I recommend preparing the sourdough starter, a recipe for that you can find here.