I am experimenting with baking bread at home for about six months now. I stopped bringing commercial sliced bread for some time now. I was put off by all the preservatives and other chemicals used in the production of bread. Also, everybody in my family enjoys the artisan bread with butter or bowl of soup. So I tried a number of recipes. My criteria for baking a bread at home is no extra equipment other than an oven, easy, healthy and good texture. This bread checks all my checkpoints. It has a very crisp crust and is so soft and full of bubbles inside. My kids love it. It does take a long time to prepare but most of that is just for the dough to rise. I generally start in the morning and bake it for dinner. It is so satisfying to be able to bake good bread at home. This bread freezes well and also taste very good when you reheat in the oven next day. I hope you try making it and enjoy it. Here is the recipe
2 Cups whole wheat atta flour
1 cup bread flour
1 and a half cup warm water (i heat in microwave for about 40 secs)
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Take a big plastic bowl or container. First, add all dry ingredients and mix. Then add the wet ingredients. I use a big plastic bowl to mix and proof my dough.
Mix all the ingredients together and knead for 3-4 minutes. The dough will be quite wet and sticky. Don’t be afraid it will be easier to handle later. I was also very afraid of sticky dough and started with recipes which used the drier dough, but I never got the light airy texture that I was after with a drier dough and once I started working with a sticky dough I found that it was not so difficult after all.
Make a rough ball of the dough in the bowl and then cover with a tea towel.
After half an hour wet your hand with water and gently pull and fold the sides of dough from all four sides over each other one by one. repeat the pull and fold from all sides one more time.
Cover and keep the dough and repeat the process of pulling and folding again. You will see that dough is much more elastic than the last time. It will still be sticky so don’t forget to wet your hands with water.
Cover and keep the dough and repeat the process of pulling and folding one last time.
Now cover and let the dough rise for about six hours.
After the six hours take the dough out on a generously floured surface. Pull and fold the dough gently from all the side and make a rough round ball. Take care to not punch the air out of it.
Take a big round bowl about double the size of the dough. We will use this for proofing the bread so it should have space for the rising dough.
Take a big cotton tea towel. Sprinkle flour all over it and then spread it inside the bowl.
Gently drop the bread dough ball over it and sprinkle some dough on top of bread to keep it from drying.
Cover with another tea towel. Let it proof for an hour.
When the bread is proofing for about half an hour, place a pizza stone or a cookie sheet in the middle rack of the oven and let the oven heat at 500F.
Add water to a small ovenproof tray and keep it ready.
After half an hour carefully drop the proofed bread dough on the pizza stone or cookie sheet. Add the water tray on the lower rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 400F.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes till bread is golden brown all over and if you tap on the bottom of bread it sounds hollow.
Remove from oven and let it cool on a wire rack.