I've noticed that I've been getting rather interesting readers lately which included those who really wanted to know if my recipes work. Much as I appreciate such straight-forwardness, ehmmm... I don't really know how to answer these questions with tact.
I have finally gotten back to making bread for the past two weekends after feeling very guilty about buying wholemeal loaves for quite sometime. Commercial bread and buns tend to come with artificial agents such as bread improver and bun softener. Although I have no idea what they are but they sure don't sound very attractive to me. The commercial bread also uses shortening as fat because they are cheaper and they don't harden after the bread cools.
I love my own bread goodies even though it may not be so professionally done. Greg thinks that looking at my bread gives him the same comfort as looking at his own pillow. It's almost like a soft toy to him. Many times, he'd rather hug than eat them. I can understand that, cos homemade bread is just so nice because of its freshness.
Did you notice that bread and buns from shops tend to be fluffy, silky smooth and airy? I think this is the effect of the additional ingredients. My bread and buns are fluffy but they are slightly more compact. That's the way we like them - compact & country-like. We just realised that we could last longer on 2 pieces of our own bread than 4 pieces of the commercial ones.
Make 2 loaves
600 gm of bread flour or high protein flour
125 gm of wholemeal flour, wetted
50 gm of castor sugar
1 1/4 heaped tbsp (with proper measuring spoon) or 15-16 gm of instant active yeast
10 gm or 1 tsp of salt
300 to 350gm of cool water/water cum milk
60gm of corn oil/butter (you can use shortening if you want. It makes the bread silky or butter)
1) Sift bread flour into the mixing bowl. Rinse wet the wholemeal flour by running water over the flour on a sift. Squeeze up the water off the wholemeal flour. Add wetted wholemeal flour, instant yeast, salt and sugar. Turn to Speed 1 to gently mix all ingredients even.
2) Slowly add about 80% of your liquid (water/water+ milk) followed by fat (the oil/shortening or butter). Turn to speed 2 (med-hi) and beat till all ingredients come together into a dough.
If it's too dry, add a little more from the last 10% of the liquid. Remember: Don't pour the whole amount of liquid all at once, as depending on your flour water absorption level, you may end up with a very wet dough. Add liquid a little at a time. The dough must be able to leave the side of the mixing bowl and it should not stick to your hand.
3) Continue beating on high for 10 to 15 min. Do the thin film/membrane test to check for readiness.
4) If dough is not quite developed yet, & the mixing bowl is already warm, take the dough out and hand knead it rigourously for a little while before shaping into a round, tight dough. Cover with clean cloth to rest for 20 min or until dough double in size. Resting at this stage makes it easier for shaping later. Divide into 2 and rest for another 10 min.
5) Shape the dough into a long (width wise) rectangle and roll towards you into a log/swiss roll shape. Place in well greased baking tin (19cm X 11 cm X 11 cm) and rest for another 1 hour 30 min to 1 hour 40 min (depending on heat and humidity) or til it rises about 90% of the tin height. Do the finger poke test.
6) Preheat oven to 165 deg cel fan forced. Bake for 25 to 30min till golden brown. Take out loaf and let it cool before cutting.