Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Country Bread 乡村面包

Following my recent country style bread posting and recipe adapted from the book " Magic Bread" by Elisabeth Siahaja, I decided to try out another recipe from this book to decide whether to continue or to cast it back to the shelf.

As explained in my posting, quite majority of the recipes uses bread softener or bread improver. I wasn't into using additives. 

Since I have never tried making country style bread and also contemplated whether the given recipe require the complete kneading process till achieving the window pane effect. The recipe only stated "Allow to proof once the mixture becomes a smooth dough", which, to my limited understanding could also meant having to knead until passing the think membrane test, or not....

The book did not elaborate anything on the kneading part. It focus on the various process of bread making (a) BFD Straight Dough Method 直接发酵法, (b) ADD Activated Dough Development Method  快速发酵法, (c) SD Sponge and Dough Method 中种发酵法. Under each recipe, instructions would be given as to the recommended method of baking method to apply.  Strangely enough, nothing has been mentioned about the applicable method for my chosen type of country bread.

To illustrate my point, here are the actual instructions that came with the recipe of this bread.

a) Dissolve yeast, water and honey and rest for 10 minutes
b) Add the rest of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix with the dissolved yeast.  Beat 
    till smooth dough is formed.   Divide each of the dough into 4 equal portions. 
    Mould the dough into oval shape. Place on a greased baking tray.
c) Place in the proofer till double in size.
d) Score a few lines on top.
e) Make 4 loaves
f) Bake till golden brown with temperature for 180C degrees for approx 25 mins.

After struggling to figure out how best to make this country bread recipe, I adopted the recipe but the baking method of another bread making book by 金永模 whom was quoted as the Godfather of bread making and the grandfather of yeast in Korea. His book 我的第一本手机做健康面包 offers lots of healthy bread recipes with pictorial illustrations teaching the ABC of bread making using hand kneading techniques.

Finally I decided on 金永模's method. The baking method of country bread is similar to that of the french baguette as both have crusty crust but with soft inner texture. To achieve that, he suggested to bake with the assistance of steam vapor. I will explain further in the later of this posting.

Country Bread 


9g Instant Dry Yeast
260g Water
16g Honey
40g Organic 5 Grains Powder
400g Bread Flour
16g Olive Oil
3g Bread Improver (I omitted)


Dissolve yeast, water and honey. Allow mixture to rest for 10 minutes.

Combine yeast mixture together with the rest of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook and mix with lower speed until all ingredients are well combined.

Continue using the mixer to knead with medium speed for another 10 - 15 minutes or until the dough become smooth and pliable. 

Transfer the dough to a slightly greased bowl, cover bowl with either cling wrap or cloth. Allow the dough to proof within the temperature between 28-30 Celsius degrees for an hour or until the dough doubled in size. 

Test the readiness of the dough with a finger lightly dusted with low gluten or cake flour. The dough is ready when the dough remain indented after the finger pokes into it.

Punch down the dough. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and mould it round. Let it rest for another 10 mins.

Lightly dust the work top with whole wheat flour. Mould dough into oval shape. Place the dough on a greased baking tray. Repeat the same process for the balance dough. Cover the dough with cling wrap and prepare the dough for the second proofing.

While awaiting for the 2nd proofing, prepare a heat proof plate / tray filled with baking stones or pebbles. Place the tray / plate at the lowest level of the oven. 

Preheat the oven at 200C degrees 10 minutes before baking. Prepare a pot of boiling water. 

Apply egg milk wash lightly onto the surface ( optional ) or lightly drizzle or spray the bread surface with mist.

Score the doughs with  a few lines on top. Transfer the proofed dough into the preheated oven. Quickly and pour hot boiling water onto the tray filled with baking stones and close the oven's door.

Reduce the temperate and bake the bread at 180C degrees for 25 minutes. 

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