bread without yeast, homemade and plain
Sometime back, I had been asked by some of my readers on how to make plain bread without yeast. I had struggled with this a few years ago and knew that there were a few things to watch out for when baking bread without yeast. Actually, what got me going was that, someone whom I thought was very knowledgeable in bread making, told me that you can’t make bread with self-raising flour. When I hear the words ‘cannot do’, “çan’t be done” or ‘impossible’ I am overcome by a chemical and biological change and my body and mind transform. It is similar to the transformation of the Incredible Hulk but not so obvious. Blood rushes to my head and steam comes out of my ears. I am overcome with a strong feeling to crack open their heads and plant an idea of what to do to make the impossible possible.
The difficulties of making homemade plain bread without yeast
Actually, there are a lot of difficulties in making bread without yeast. The first is the flavour. When you try to make bread without yeast you will go for baking soda as your raising agent. Unfortunately, the baking soda will taste awful if you put too much and worse still it will make the bread greenish in color.
So do be careful when you make bread without yeast.
The next problem you will face is the texture of the dough. There must be sufficient water in the dough to make it soft enough to rise when the baking soda gets activated at 70C (158F). Too much water will cause the dough to be ‘loose’ and almost like batter. When you have too much water or liquids in the dough, during baking, the gases released by the baking soda will not be trapped within the dough. While the bread is baking a lot of the gases escape or bubble through the dough and you will find that you have a flat hard bread. The third problem you will face, when making bread without yeast, is that the dough cannot trap sufficient gases to rise. This is caused by insufficient proteins within the dough mix to form a network matrix to trap gases. This, I believe, is one of the reasons cakes have eggs in them as cakes are made from low protein flour.
These are the problems you will face when using plain flour so I have begun these experiments with self-raising flour. That will relieve me on one parameter to monitor. Self-raising flour is a fine flour with much lower protein content so in this recipe I have blended self-raising flour with bread flour to introduce more protein into the dough.
The homemade plain bread without yeast recipe
|Plain Bread without Yeast|
|1||Self raising flour||100||210.00||7.39|
Photos of the homemade bread without yeast process
Weigh all the ingredients, for the plain bread without yeast recipe, into a bowl but hold back on the water
Use you fingers and gently rub the butter into the flour. It does not have to be finely done. Just enough to have perceptibly fine lumps of butter. Those fine lumps will melt and leave small holes in the bread when baked. These holes will make it look more like bread than cake. Furthermore, the butter and sugar in the bread without yeast recipe, adds flavour and tries to mask the baking soda flavour.
Then pour in the water in one go. Note that since I am using self-raising flour which cannot hold much water I am using 65% water with respect to the weight of the flour. If I had tried to use more water it would become batter. Please refer to my previous article on how to choose your flour.
Very gently stir the flour water mixture. If you are to vigorous or rough, a lot of gluten will be released and the bread will become tough.
I used my hands towards the end to bring the dough together into one ball. Hardly kneaded the ball because I didn’t want the bread to be rubbery.
Then cover the dough with a really damp cloth and let it rest for half an hour. The damp cloth is to prevent the dough from drying out and forming a tough skin on the outside. If you read my previous article on making rock bread without yeast you will realise that the article was written in jest to show all the wrong ways to make bread without yeast.
After half an hour you will find the dough pretty soft and not elastic or rubbery. If I had baked the homemade plain bread without yeast immediately after mixing, the dough would have been rubbery. When the dough is rubbery there will be ‘no give’ when the gases are released by the baking soda and it will be difficult to stretch and expand the dough. That means the dough will not rise a lot. When you allow the dough to rest for half an hour the dough will lose its elasticity and stretch easily. Test it out yourself by using your finger to push the surface of the dough before and after resting. Oil your finger first.
I had oiled the top of the bread before resting the dough that is why it looks shiny in the picture. I didn’t have any eggs in the fridge to make an egg wash so I had used cooking oil, and yes, I had run out of butter so I will have to do some shopping soon.
Bake for 40 minutes at 220C (428F). The homemade plain bread without yeast looks really nice and the crust was very … errr … what is a good word for it … crusty?
This homemade plain bread was tender and good to taste. (Psss: I let you into a secret :- Don’t confuse plain bread without yeast with meat loaf even though meat loaf has no yeast). I will try to improve on this bread without yeast recipe.
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This article on How to make plain bread without yeast was researched and written by Peter Achutha
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