On our menu today, is the classic Nigerian breakfast, bread. This food is not one of my favourites but it’s one hell of convenient food, so, most mornings, I, like thousands of others, reach for it. Another advantage that bread has over other breakfast options is its flexibility. It can be eaten plain. It can be toasted and/or garnished with butter, sardine, eggs, avocados, akara. I don’t like eating plain bread unless it’s deliciously soft and milky and the best soft and milky bread is the homemade variety.
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Today’s gist is on how to make soft, milky bread. Before I start my gist, I’ll like you to take note of a few things. The first is that bread flour is the best flour for bread making. It has a higher gluten content. The second thing to note is that I used the active dry yeast for today’s recipe. However, if you’re using rapid yeast, just add it directly to your dry ingredients as it does not require proofing. The third thing to note is that the butter, water and eggs should be brought to room temperature before use. Finally, vinegar is the preservative I used for today’s recipe. That said, let’s start baking.
6 cups of Bread Flour
1 Cup of Milk
2 Tablespoons of Yeast
1 Cup of Sugar
1 teaspoon of Salt
3 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Cup of Water
1/2 Teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
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Method of Preparation
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in lukewarm water. You can either give the yeast at least five minutes to proof or you wait till it becomes frothy. In a sizeable bowl add the dry ingredients (flour, salt and sugar). Mix well. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the yeast. Also add the milk, eggs, melted butter, vinegar. Afterwards, mix the dry and wet ingredients together till a sticky dough is formed.
Sprinkle flour on the work surface then transfer the sticky dough to the floured work surface. Start kneading the dough but you must remember to dust the work surface from time to time to prevent dough from sticking to it.
Work the dough for at least ten minutes; the dough should be smooth and elastic when the allotted time is up. Coat it with a little oil to prevent it from drying out then place it in a large mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Place it in a warm place to rise to double its size. This should take at least one hour.
When the allotted time is up, take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down to remove excess air. Please exercise caution while doing this so that you don’t overbeat the dough. Transfer the dough back to the work surface. Divide it into four equal parts. Shape each part into a loaf.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease four loaf pans and dust them lightly with flour. Place a shaped dough inside each pan. Cover each pan and give its content at least thirty minutes to rise. After thirty minutes, place the bread pans into the oven. Bake for twenty to twenty-five minutes. When the time is up, insert a toothpick in the middle of the bread. If it comes out clean, the bread is ready. Bring it out of the oven and allow it to cool for some minutes. Serve and enjoy bread with any accompaniment of your choice.
Chef Lola’s Kitchen
Featured Image Source: Red Star Yeast
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