Many homemade bread recipes use a different balancing between common ingredients in order to create a new, tasty kind of bread. In this respect, bread is a magic and unique combination of simple ingredients. The preparation technique is not really complicated at all, you'll need just basic and very inexpensively ingredients available at any grocery store.
First, let's see the equipment needed: obviously a large mixing bowl, preferably in a place warm and draft-free, where you'll mix all the ingredients together. You'll also need a spoon to stir the dough, a scales, one measuring cup to manage the flour, one measuring spoon to manage the oil, one measuring teaspoon to manage sugar and salt quantity. Finally, be sure to get a hand towel to cover the bread dough as it rises, so it doesn’t get drafts or dust on it and it doesn't get dry.
A very important condition to make a great bread is to use the right oven: the best choice is certainly a wood-fired oven, which give the right temperature and a typical flavor to the bread. If you want to use your home oven, you have to try several times in order to find the right cooking temperature.
As regard the ingredients, the basic ones are unbleached white flour, salt, fresh yeast or sourdough or natural yeast, olive oil (optional), sugar or malt (optional), and of course water (preferably mineral water)! It's possible to vary some of the ingredients in order to get a different kind of bread: for example, you can replace the sugar with malt to get a more soft bread, or add some milk if you want to make white sliced bread.
Other kind of homemade bread recipes mix the unbleached white flour with other types, such as manitoba flour, soy flour, whole wheat flour, potato flour, rye flour or millet and rice flour. You can enjoy creating different shapes for your bread: the most common in southern Italy is the "S-shape", a loaf slightly bent to form this letter, along with the classics "Filone" (similar to baguette) and rounded "Pagnotta".
Remember to carve the top of your bread: choose from an oblique, a cross, a square or long one to decorate your creation! However, carving the bread is not just for a matter of aesthetics, but is used to let the loaf swell without breaking during cooking.
One very important aspect is the action of yeast. First, you need to melt it with not too hot water (just warm), or you would somehow block the action of leavening agents with high temperatures. Try to set the dough in your closed oven, in order to prevent drafts.
Finally, if you're aiming to get a particularly soft homemade bread recipe, you'll have to add extra leavening time, letting the dough rise for an additional hour or a little bit more or in some cases even 24 hours or several days in the refrigerator.
remember ... a good result, that is the bread you like, depends on
you, not on the recipe. It comes from your patience and will to
experiment and build experience.
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