Mon Pain Quotidien - BC20 style
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I'm going back to basics today.
This is one of a series of bakes that I've called...
Bake it yourself...Make it your own.
It's a simple idea. If you're an inexperienced baker, then here's a recipe for you for the first time you bake this everyday, multifunctional loaf - I call it, extremely pretentiously, Mon Pain Quotidien.
After that, adopt the recipe, adapt the ingredients and improve the end product. That's the challenge!
That's what being a good home baker is all about.
However, as with all things....there's a catch.
This only works for what I call 'generic bread'.
That is bread without precise provenance or bread closely linked to a specific geographical area, culture or era.
You can't use this process with, for example, a French Baguette, a Hot Cross bun, Ethiopian injera or a Victorian Bloomer,
No more than you could make caviar out of a tin of tuna.
The best we can do to bread that deserves our total respect is to try and make it as authentically as possible.
So, this is a generic multipurpose loaf - one I've baked for years and is my go-to for a nutritious loaf. I often add seeds and mainly use a wholemeal/strong white mix or a malthouse flour.
The versatility of this formula will become apparent as you read on.
The ingredients are simple and flexible. They allow you to be flexible with your own ingredients and develop a formula that will give you the taste and style that best suits you.
A note about the ingredients
FLOUR - you can use strong white, wholemeal or a malthouse flour in this formula; or these in combination. If you're using a combination of white and wholemeal, I'd recommend no less than 70% white and 30% of whatever other flour you choose. You'll find malthouse is fine on its own...but, it's up to you.
LIQUID - I always use filtered water. If you live in a hard water area, you really could do with thinking about what the effect of this water has on your bread and your bake. If your water is heavily chlorinated, leave it a while for the chlorine to disperse. If you use heavy wholemeal flour or are adding lots of seeds, you might want to add an extra 10 - 15 gms of water. Watch the dough, not the quantity.
SALT - I'm using crushed sea salt. I don't think I'd change that. Don't use iodised salt.
MILK - I use dried milk. I know that this is sometimes not easily available. You can leave the milk out or, alternatively, use 40 gms sole or skimmed liquid milk and deduct it from the total liquid as indicated below.
SUGAR - try and use a good dark brown sugar or molasses sugar. Alternatively, use honey.
SEEDS - Obviously, if you're using seeded flour, you might find it contains enough seeds as it is. However, if you want to add seeds, add a little more water (see above) and feel free to add seeds of your choice. I usually add a tablespoon of each of the following per 500 gms of flour: linseed, chia, sunflower, pumpkin, black sesame and white sesame. Then I usually glaze the top with poppy seeds. But remember, all this is optional. It's part of adapting a recipe and making it your own.
BUTTER - Sometimes, I use unsalted butter, at other times, I use olive oil. Instead of 25 gms of butter, I'd use a tablespoon of olive oil.
500 gms flour (today, I'm using 300 gms strong white and 200 gms of wholemeal)
380 gms filtered water (see above)
2 tablespoons dried milk (see above)
25 gms unsalted butter
1 teaspoon crushed sea salt
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar
1 teaspoon rapid yeast
I'm also using seeds
1 tablespoon of each of the following seeds:
and some poppy seeds under a milk glaze.
1. Mix together the dry ingredients.
2. Add the wet ingredients and bring them together.
3. Tip out and knead until you have a soft, silky dough.
The kneading can also be completed in a stand mixer or bread machine (fast instant start pizza programme). Just switch off until the dough is formed and ready.
4. Place in an oiled bowl, cover and put in a warm spot until doubled in volume.
5. Tip out onto a floured board, Knock out the air and shape as required.
A note about shaping.
Remember the rule.... half-fill your loaf tins with dough and when the dough rises enough during the second proof so that the shoulders of the dough are level with the top of the tin, it's ready to bake.
This formula lends itself to loaf tins, rolls, baguettes, cobs, bloomers...it's all in the shaping.
I usually double up the quantities so that I have enough bread to bake to warrant the size of the oven and the cost of the electricity.
6. Cover and leave to second proof in a warm spot until doubled in volume.
Now is the time to glaze, if you so wish. I often glaze using milk or a milk/egg wash and scatter poppy seeds.
7. Reheat the oven to 190⁰C
8. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes for loaves and adjust if baking smaller items. They're ready when golden brown and hollow when tapped on the underneath.
9. Cool on a rack.
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