I love the aroma of a freshly baked bread in my kitchen and for me there is almost nothing better than the taste of a crusty homemade piece of bread, spread with salted butter. To bake your own bread is nothing complicated at all, although it does take a little bit of planning ahead, since the yeast sponge needs to be made the night before you plan baking the bread.
Makes about 20 mini loaves of bread
For the yeast sponge, made the night before:
- 125 g white flour
- 150 g water
- 5 g fresh yeast
Combine the flour, the water and the yeast and mix until incorporated. Cover with a wet towel and let the yeast sponge rest at room temperature overnight.
For the dough:
- 375 g white flour
- 150 g water
- 4 g fresh yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, combine the yeast sponge with the flour, half of the water and the yeast. Continue to add water a little at a time.
Add the salt and continue mixing on medium speed for about 4 minutes until the mixture forms a rough dough.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough with your hands until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball, then place it in a large, slightly oiled bowl and coat the bowl with a wet towel and let it rice in a warm place until doubled in volume for about 2 hours.
Knock back the dough to deflate it, then divide into 20 equal pieces of about 38 g apiece.
For shaping use your palms; start at the middle and roll the dough outwards. The bread should end up a little fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends.
Place the breads onto a baking sheet and let them rise for another hour.
Preheat the oven to 250° C.
Heat a roasting dish in the bottom of the oven and pour in some water to create some steam, this will help form the crust.
Just before baking, slash the top of each bread two times.
Bake the mini breads for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden-brown. To check if the bread is done, tap the bottom with your knuckles – it should sound hollow.
Cool them on a wire rack and enjoy!