How to make bread at home

How to make bread at home

Over fifty years ago, the baker’s apprentice used to go around the streets every morning to ask the stay-at-home parent if they intended to knead and organize the pickups to be made. That voice has been lost over time, like the family marks with which the baker branded the loaves, now just beautiful antique objects. It is the poetry that was told every day in old houses, in old ovens, it is the poetry of warmth, smell, and flavor that one wants to tell again, rediscovering ancient traditions and bringing back the scent of past times to the kitchens of our homes.

Making bread at home is easy, just follow a few simple steps. Invaluable is having fresh bread even on holidays, enjoying the scent of freshly baked bread, and knowing that with a few simple tricks, you can make a good loaf to share with your loved ones or to savor all for yourself. Bread is a simple food but, if prepared at home, it can be a source of real pride for those who cook it.

Let’s see how to proceed with the dough, the flour to use, and the different bread formats that can be created. The leavening and baking, finally, are steps to be followed with care to get better results, so follow our advice and get your hands in the dough.

The different types of bread (formats)

How to make bread at home:

With a basic dough, you can have fun preparing an infinity of formats to bring to the table pieces of bread rich in flavor, fragrance, taste, and fantasy. If you want to bake loaves so that there is one for each guest or to have them divided for convenience, work each piece on a floured surface, rolling and turning it between your hands. Form balls, place them on a tray well apart from each other, and cover them with a damp cloth and plastic wrap. Let them rise again until they are soft and puffy, then bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15–20 minutes. There are many shapes; you just need to have a bit of dexterity. To give your loaf a cross shape, pull a strip of dough with the palm of your hand, roll it halfway, and do the same thing on the other side. You will get two rolls of dough that you must lift and twist together to form a cross.

For a nice and fun artichoke shape, roll out a loaf into a rectangle and make consecutive incisions from one side, distant from each other by one or more centimeters, depending on the length of the piece of dough. Then roll up the rectangle on itself and widen the incised parts; the result will be a large artichoke that you can also use as a centerpiece, decorated with many vegetables cut into small pieces and skewered into the loaf with toothpicks. These are just two shapes you can give your loaves to have fun at home. You can also bake bread by giving it the shape of a classic loaf, a nice loaf, or the more practical rolls. You can also enrich your bread with black olives for a more intense flavor.

To get tastier bread, you can add a mix of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts to the dough. Add these seasonings to the second kneading, then form small loaves or rolls and let them rise for another 20–30 minutes in a turned-off oven, covered with a damp cloth. After the leavening time, remove them from the oven and heat them to 200°C. While the oven is heating, brush the rolls with a little oil for extra crunchiness; do it gently to avoid ruining the growth.

When the oven is ready, put the dough in, set the temperature to 180 °C, and let it cook.

Try experimenting with different shapes and sizes; for example, you can try folding the dough or spreading it out to make a flatter bread, which is perfect for filling. Remember to let the dough rest in the shape you have chosen so that it can rise most appropriately!”

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