Noah wanted to make some bread all by himself today. The kids have helped with bread-baking a lot over the years, turning the mixer on and off, dumping in ingredients, kneading, shaping and so on. But they've never really taken the trouble to figure out how all the bits fit together as a total process from start to finish. That was what Noah wanted to do. Soon he had two hangers-on who also wanted to do the same.
I usually bake with whole grains, but for this endeavour I gave them my most forgiving, straightforward recipe, done with white flour. They love French bread, which is a rare treat, and this dough will work equally well for dinner rolls, pizza crust or French bread. Each of the kids mixed up their own dough and made their own loaf.
1 cup of warm water
1 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
... and enough white flour to make a lively kneadable dough
Add ingredients to mixer in order. Use dough hook to mix well. Knead by hand for a few minutes. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place until dough is well risen. When it's ready a damp finger poked quickly into the dough will leave a depression that will not fill in, or will sag slightly. At this point punch dough down and re-form into a ball. Leave to rise again. Second rise will take approximately half the time of the first. Punch down again, then roll out to a flat rectangle and roll up to form loaf. Leave to rise for about as long as the second rise, until the loaves look about right.
Preheat oven to 350F. Brush top of loaf with a mixture of a little egg white and an equal amount of water. Slash top of loaf with a sharp knife to a depth of up to about a centimetre if desired. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes.
Noah had never imagined that so much bread could come from such a small amount of ingredients. When I explained the recipe to him and he got his measly cup of water to start out with, he was pretty sure he'd end up with a bun. He was pleased to see that he ended up with a whole lovely loaf!