Bruce's No Need Bread
We have found a lot of recipes for bread being passed around that make a loaf big enough to feed a family of six. When there is only two of you then it’s time to trim it back and make a loaf that is good for a day or two. The recipe for this loaf will still be fresh (soft) for sandwiches the next day, if kept in a zip lock bag once it has cooled. We found a small loaf tin in one of the big supermarkets, not sure which one but have a look as you’re passing the cooking section. We only use volume measurements, I am not sure if some boating recipes have ever been made while out of the marina. Why do I say this?? Try using weighing scales once you’re underway and making way. Good luck on the loaf this will make by using weight rather than a volume measurement.
Being in Asia for the last year has taught a thing or two about different flours and bread mixes. We could use bread mixes and flours up to and some times past the use by date when coastal cruising in Australia. However we found this wasn't the case in the heat and humidity of Asia, and we began to have failed loaves. To keep it simple and use the local produce I have gone back to basics and are producing nice crusty fresh bread every couple of days.
This loaf is easy to make and tastes great. If you haven’t made any breads previously then to stop the dough sticking to your hands lightly flour them like you do the surface you are going to work the dough on. The next thing you’re going to need is patience, be prepared to wait for it to rise then be prepared to let it cool once its cooked and the smell is driving you crazy, of course you could cut into it, but it won’t slice easily and it may turn in to a misshapen mess.
No Need Bread
2 Cups of plain '00' or bread making flour
180-200 ml of luke warm water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 Teaspoon of salt
1 Teaspoon of dry yeast
1 Teaspoon of raw sugar (or white or honey)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml.
To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in the water add the sugar and a teaspoon of flour then mix well, stand for 10-15 minutes, it’s good to go when its bubbling up in the cup / glass /container you have it in.
Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, add the oil and salt, and start mixing with a bread and butter knife, then use your fingers to bring it into a dough ball. Tip the dough onto a floured cooking bench and knead for 8–10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and shiny. If you have a mixer fitted with dough hooks, leave it in the bowl and you can let your appliance do the work for you in half the time, I like this option the best. But just because you’re using dough hooks you will still need to mix / knead the dough for 5 minutes, don’t stop once it’s all come together, keep going. Once you have made a loaf or two you should be able to spot the change from a combined dough to a elastic dough ball.
Whichever method you use, the dough should feel slightly sticky. If it seems way too wet, add one tablespoon of flour at a time and mix. Likewise, if it’s too dry, add a (little oil once) or water one table spoon at a time. All flours tend to vary slightly, even within the same brand, and you have to let your instinct guide you. The dough ball needs to be elastic without a large amount sticking to the bottom of the bowl.
With floured /oiled hands shape the dough into a ball, then put it back into the mixing bowl cover with a plastic film (glad/cling wrap) or a moist tea towel and rest for 20 minutes. After this time, you will notice the dough has become soft, shiny and elastic. Stretch it with your hands to form a rectangle, then fold it into three and shape it into a ball. Place the ball in an oiled bowl, cover with a plastic film (glad/cling wrap) or a moist tea towel and leave to prove for 1 ½–2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on floured cooking bench and knead for 1 - 2 minutes to knock the air out of the dough. Now Stretch it with your hands to form a rectangle the width slightly shorter than the length of your loaf tin, now roll the dough along the length and place into the greased loaf pan.
Place oiled plastic film as used previously or a new sheet over the pan as the dough rises. Once the dough has doubled in size heat your oven to 210°C (190°C fan-forced). Remove the plastic gently and place the loaf tin into the center of the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden and puffy.
The loaf should fall easily from the pan when cooked and will sound hollow when tapped with the back of a finger. Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for half an hour if you can before cutting.
Why have I called this no need bread? Its “No Need Bread” because there is no need to go the shop to get a great loaf. You can’t make a nice elastic chewy loaf of bread that melts on your tongue without doing a bit of work and knead it. If you don’t want to put in the work you may as well just make damper.
|About to become egg and lettuce sandwiches|
Hints and Tips
Plain flour off the shelf of the supermarket will not work very well because the good stuff (gluten) has been taken out of it. Look for bread making or fortified flour. In Australia Wallaby flour or a bread making flour by Defiance both work well, there are other brands but I haven’t used them. Another reason I haven’t used them is they are not available off the shelf at the local supermarket.
Flours like white wings or defiance plain flour won’t work, and the large supermarket store brands do an even poorer job. Of course you could buy bread mix but I have found it does not have the same life span that the plain flour has in the heat and humidity. The other thing about bread mixes is you won’t (we haven’t) see it on the shelf in Asia.The bread making flours pictured have been used with success on board. As you can see bread is pictured in the products made on the front.
|Indonesia Bread Making Flour|
|Malaysia Bread Making Flour|
|Thailand Bread Making Flour|
Salt, don’t leave this out because you’re thinking we don’t eat salt. Believe it or not, salt is an important ingredient and will help the flour / dough become elastic, and you want elastic.
Which brings me to the next subject; failures: a loaf that rises and then collapses may be caused by the flour being too old. I have had flour and bread mixes that are too active and I think this is caused by wild yeast starting to ferment the flour. You may notice the dough does not hold shape when proving, cooking or starts to get a very very slight brown colour or tastes slightly different. These could all be the signs of wild yeast infection or the flour is too old.
How do you know if the dough is too wet? If using a dough hook(s) it won’t leave the bottom of the mixing bowl, once the mix is good at least 95 % or more of the dough will be off the bottom of the bowl while you’re mixing and you can hold it in your floured /oiled hand quite easily. The same goes for hand kneading the dough will be controllable and not a sticky mess.
Bread improver, I have found this can improve a loaf if the packet of improver is fresh. Unfortunately it appears to have a shorter life span in the heat and humidity than flour has. Even unopen packets don’t appear to like the heat. The symptoms are over active dough or collapsing loaf while being cooked or won’t hold shape when proving.
Yeast; we buy a big cans of dry yeast or large vacuum packets and once open keep them in the fridge.
In Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand the good bread making flour is available you just have to do a bit of detective work to get the right one. I have found the pictures on the front most times let you know what it’s good for. Make sure there are no holes in the plastic packs (give them a good squeeze) a sure sign something has got in or bored their way out.
|A couple of knife cuts on the top before proving produces a patterned top|