This recipe is sufficient for 2 or 3 loaves
1 kg (8 cups)Flour
20g (1 tbs) Salt
20g (1 tbs) Fat (Butter, Lard or Margarine)
15g (1 tbs) Dried Yeast or 30g compressed
100 milligrams Ascorbic acid
20g (1 tbs) Sugar (optional)
550 to 650 ml Water (2 3/4 - 3 1/4 cups)
Sieve the flour then mix by hand all the dry ingredients and yeast in a large warm bowl.
Add 550 ml of water and continue mixing until a dough has started to form. If it is not a soft dough extra water must be added and thoroughly mixed in.
Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead it by stretching and folding, then stretching and folding again and again until the dough is very smooth and very easy to stretch (about 10 minutes). Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a lid or large plate and stand 15 minutes in a warm (25-35°C) place. A superheater cupboard is good.
Remove the dough from the bowl and cut it into either two or three equal pieces. Mould each dough piece gently to the desired shape and place it in a greased baking tin.
Cover each tin with a wet cloth and put them in a warm place to let the dough pieces rise. This will take up to one hour though the exact time will vary. A good guide is to allow the doughs to double in volume.
Bake the doughs in a very hot oven 240-280°C (450-500°F) until brown. This will take about 30 minutes in a normal oven and less in an oven with air circulation.
Remove the loaves from the tins as soon as they come from the oven.
To test if the loaf is baked through, turn the loaf upside down and tap it with your knuckles. A thoroughly baked loaf sounds hollow. If the loaf sounds dense or heavy, bake it for another five minutes and test again.
Enough water must be used to give a dough which is soft and slightly sticky when handled. The dough temperature after mixing should be approximately 30°C so the water must be added lukewarm. The water should be 35-40°C in a warm kitchen and 40-45°C in a cool kitchen. It is essential to have a thermometer if you want to make good bread.
Ascorbic acid is available from pharmacists in 50 and 100 milligram tablets as well as other sizes. Crush the tablet before use.
Instead of adding the yeast and ascorbic acid separately it is now possible to purchase dried yeast which already has ascorbic acid added. Check the label on the bottle.
The number of loaves made from a dough will depend on the tin size. Each dough should be less than half the volume of the tin when first put in and should fill the tin after rising.
Instead of greasing an oven tray with butter or oil to stop the bread from sticking, try sprinkling cornmeal on the tray.
This method is equally suitable for wholemeal bread or breads containing a mixture of wholemeal and white flour. The following changes should be made.
Use more water to get a soft dough. Usually 650-700 ml of water will be needed for wholemeal bread.
Reduce the rising time in the tins. It is not possible to double the dough size for a wholemeal bread without getting a coarse textured loaf.