carob bread.jpg

Carob bread

This week I present you a homemade bread recipe. It’s quite easy to do, but considering the bread science and elbow grease you might have to put into it, it is a time-consuming recipe. Nonetheless, it’s a rewarding experience to make, bake and eat this bread.

The first thing you need to know about bread-making is temperature. Playing with yeast is tricky because it is a living thing that you depend on completely to get a good, aerated texture.

700 grams all-purpose flour
7 grams dry bread yeast
245 grams of milk
230 grams water
50 grams butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
50 grams carob flour
1. Heat the milk and water until 38ºC (never past 40ºC otherwise the yeast will die), mix the sugar and the yeast and combine well so it becomes a smooth liquid. Let set for about seven minutes to give time for the yeast to “wake up”.

2. The kneading. If you have a stand mixer, use the spiral attachment instead of the beater; this will help you from losing your breath for, well, at least seven minutes! Start beating (with the spirals) half the flour with the liquid and melted butter, until completely combined. Add remaining flour (carob too) and salt. Keep beating for seven minutes.

3. Gluten formation doesn’t only depend on the mechanichal beating; hand-kneading is also a must. With one hand (usually your left one) hold the bottom half of the dough while the other hand streches the other half up, folding it back on itself and repeating the process for about three minutes. This is a vital procedure in bread-making.

4. The resting time. Yes, let your dough take a nap. Grease a big bowl, lay your ball of dough, flip it in the grease (I use olive oil), cover it with a tea towel and let it be for at least one to one-and-a-half hours before messing with it again. In the summer time, you can leave it at room temperature, but while it’s cold, turn the oven on to about 25-30ºC and let the dough rise there.

5. Preheat your oven to 230ºC. Grease and flour a bread pan. Punch down the risen dough, roll it and lay in the pan for rise number two (about half-an-hour more). Slit the surface of the bread with a sharp knife, egg wash it and bake until the crust is formed. Let rest, then cut and eat with a lot of jam and butter.

This is a very dense bread, so don’t go overboard with it. It is a good breakfast option as you will not feel too hungry until lunchtime.

By Megan Melling

Megan Melling’s journey into the food world started in 2011 when she decided to enrol in Cookery and Food Production in Estoril. She was born American, but grew up in the Algarve, so she gets the best of two opposite culinary cultures. She has worked as a cook in Lisbon for the past year and is currently in the process of opening up a gourmet project in Lagos. Check out all of her personal recipes on her blog and facebook page Mel’s Vittles for some yummy photos and food facts.