Not that I am major doubter in his basic bread recipe... it's more like I doubt my bread kneading skills.
But I armed myself with complete knowledge before I plunged into breadmaking again yesterday, despite the awful headache I was having. Despite my flu and sneezing 20 times!
Still, I had to throw out cups of yeast in lukewarm water because silly me, I wasn't patient enough to let the yeast bubble and ferment. Finally it dawned on me that the yeast was alive but a bit slow in 'waking up'. 4 lukewarm cups of water + yeast + honey later, I realize this.
Anyway, the basic bread recipe is simple and yes, I finally have 94% of what resembles bread. I cannot say 100% because Nic says it needs some 10 minutes more in the oven but excited old me took it out at 30 minutes and it was slightly, just slightly underdone. But it was bread. It looked like bread, it tasted chewy and lovely. It was BREAD.
Thank you Cosmic Universe!
So the recipe is super simple. Make the yeast concoction first. Dilute 1 tsp instant yeast into a cup of lukewarm water mixed with 1 tsp honey or sugar. Let it sit until it foams and smells like beer. Mine took about 15 minutes. I was getting edgier by the minute.
Put 4 cups plain flour into a bowl. Make a well and pour the yeasty stuff into this and mix well. It starts off a goooey mess but soon you will be able to knead it. I had to use more flour to coat my hands as I kneaded. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Then knead again until you feel you are getting an upper arm workout. About 10 minutes kneading will do or I feel my biceps forming. At this time, work in some salt. Kneading as you add 1 tsp salt.
Put into a bowl (I oiled it first), cover with a wet cloth and let it sit for 2 hours. I put it into my oven as I felt a warm place helps yeast work faster.
After 2 hours, take dough and punch down. Literally it means punch to release the air pockets. Not too much. Just a mild punching will do.
Shape it into a round and bake in oven for 30 minutes at 200 C. I would have liked to glaze it with a bit of olive oil! Oh yes, I oiled the pan too so that the dough won't stick.
Thanks to BG and his bread recipe!