I started baking bread at the beginning of the year. I find it rather intriguing how people can make a good loaf of bread at home without all the “unknown” ingredients in a store bought bread.
The idea of baking bread is quite daunting to some, including me, but I like the challenge of making something that I’ve never made before. I tried making sourdough but it wasn’t very successful so I’ve decided to bake something simpler than the mighty sourdough. Asian style bread is something that I like to make as the dough is very versatile and soft – bread that I ate growing up.
Bread Fun Fact:
Superstition says it is bad luck to turn a loaf of bread upside down or cut an unbaked loaf.Source: https://mobile-cuisine.com/did-you-know/bread-fun-facts/
I also like to make a Greek style bread called Horiatiko Psomi, which is also known as country bread. Horiatiko Psomi is a dense and crusty bread commonly made in rural Greece. It is perfect for dipping in olive oil and sauces. Serve it with feta, olives and maybe a sliced, ripe tomato. I’ve made this as a soft crust version as I prefer softer crust, though you can always make the original crusty bread version (see tips).
The unexpected flavor of this bread comes from honey and a good quality olive oil. I’ve used a Greek olive oil from Greece given by my friend’s mom. If you don’t have honey, no problem, just omit it from the recipe.
The original recipe makes 1 large loaf or 2 loaves of medium size bread. I have halved the recipe to make one medium size loaf because a kilo of flour is just too much for my mixer. Plus there are only two of us in the household and we like fresh bread as much as we can.
This is a yia yia approved bread so I’m pretty sure I’m on the right track 🙂
How Long Do You Knead The Dough?
For a dough to be ready for first proofing, kneading can take anywhere between 5-10 mins. However, it’s all depending on the kneading method, whether by hand or machine, kneading speed and the size of the dough. So the best test method is using the windowpane test. When your bread dough is feeling stretchy, after 5 mins of kneading, take a small section of the dough and try stretching the it thinly. As a guide, a dough made from strong wheat flour should stretch thinly enough to let the daylight through.
“Get it as thin as a pair of tights, and either your dough is amazing or your tights are just too thick”– River Cottage Handbook No.3, Bread by Daniel Stevens
- To get a crusty bread, place a baking tray in the oven. Boil some water in a kettle. Once the loaves are in, pour the boiling water from the kettle into the baking tray and shut the door. Do all this as fast as you possibly can, to keep the heat in. Also make sure that you keep your face back when pouring the water. After 10 mins, have a look and shuffle the bread about if you have an uneven heat oven and lower the temperature about 10 or 20 degree celsius, depending on the colour of the crust.
- Leave bread alone to cool. Don’t cut the bread while it is still hot as it will be steamy, heavy and doughy.
- Store bread at room temperature, wrapped in paper or in a bread container. Don’t refrigerate but freezes well.
- To refresh bread, just reheat the bread in a preheated oven about 170 degree celcius for about 15-20 mins.
- Omit the honey if you don’t have it.
- Lukewarm water is about 36.5 to 40.5 degree celsius. I usually just test it by “feel”.
- Mixer with hook attachment
- Dough scrapper
- Cling film/tea towel
- Digital scale
- Measuring spoons
- Pastry board/mat
- Serrated knife/bread knife
- Baking tray
- Cooling rack
- Baking paper
Homemade Greek Style Bread - Horiatiko Psomi
This is a dense and crusty bread commonly made in rural Greece. It is perfect for dipping in olive oil and sauces. Serve it with feta, olives and maybe a sliced, ripe tomato.
- Yeast : 1 Tbsp
- Bread Flour: 31g
- Lukewarm Water : 118g
- Bread Flour : 500g
- Salt : 1/2 Tbsp
- Water : 296g
- Milk : 1 Tbsp
- Olive Oil : 1 Tbsp
- Honey : 1 Tbsp (note 1)
- In a bowl, combine yeast, bread flour (31g) and lukewarm water and mix into a thick liquid. Allow to rise for 10-15 mins.
- Put the remaining bread flour, salt, water, milk, olive oil, and honey into your mixing bowl. Then pour in the yeast mixture, turn on the mixer and mix with a dough hook until a smooth dough is formed. (note 2)
- Shape it into a ball and place the smooth dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough around so that it is all covered with the oil. Cover it with a cling film or a damp towel. Let it rise at a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size. (note 3)
- After it has doubled in size, punch and knead the dough in a lightly floured pastry board/mat for a few minutes until it is roughly the size you started with. Shape it into a round loaf. (note 4)
- Place the shaped loaf onto a bowl lined with a floured tea towel. Cover the loaf and let it rise for about 45 mins or until it doubled in size again.
- Preheat the oven at 220 degree celsius. Tip the loaf out to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Slash the top of the loaf in few places with a serrated knife.
- Pop the loaf into the oven and bake for 30 mins to 35 mins until browned. When tap at the bottom bread will sound hollow.
- Let it cool on a cooling rack.
- Omit if not available.
- If you find that the dough is dry, add one tbsp of water at a time.
- The best place is the kitchen. During winter, you can preheat the oven at 10 degree celsius, turn it off then put the dough into the warm oven (warm not hot or it will kill the yeast!). Alternatively, you can wet a tea towel in warm water and cover the dough.
- You can shape it in any form you prefer, e.g. a cylinder shape or into 14-16 buns.
- Refer tips for a crusty bread.
Nutrition Per Serving (Based on 16 servings):
|NUTRITION INFORMATION||AVE QUANTITY PER SERVING|
|– Saturated Fat||0.4g|
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