Baking Flour

Búza Finomliszt is a standard fine white Baking Flour that can be used to make white bread.

Búza Finomliszt

If you want whole grain wheat bread, use the Teljes Kiőrlésű (Whole Grain) brown flour.

Búza Finomliszt Barna

Yeast Cube

Although there is a modern Instant Yeast sachet available, I recommended using the traditional Yeast Cube.

Yeast Élesztő

Instant Yeast

This is Instant Yeast in a sachet that you simply sprinkle into warm milk and sugar.

Instant Yeast Élesztő

Try it and see if you prefer it over the traditional yeast cube.



How To Make Handmade White Bread In A Fan Oven

Homemade White Bread - Milk - Sugar - Yeast - Flour

After staying in Szeged (Hungary) for a while and buying bread on a daily basis, ranging from white (150 Ft), brown (250 Ft) and a mixture of white and brown (180 Ft), I soon felt those small Forints mounting up; with my average monthly spend becoming 2,000 Ft (£5), which could easily rise to 5,000 Ft (£10) if eating the wheat grain breads. With those bread costs in mind, I thought I would start baking my own bread.

The INGREDIENTS

In terms of finding the bread ingredients (Hungarian names!) for basic bread recipes, I found all of them in Tesco. They can easily be found in the Co-Op and Spar supermarkets too. In England (UK) they are also widely available in the main supermarkets (such as Sainsbury, Tesco and Morrisons) as well as in local shops.

Below is a list of bread ingredients with their English and Hungarian names and prices (exchange is currently 400 HUF to 1 GBP):

The three mentioned yeasts are as follows - Yeast Cube (in the fridge, fresh, and traditionally used by Hungarians), Yeast Instant Sachet (modern, one-off use, packet) and Yeast Express Sachet (modern, instant, use three times). In the method below I have stuck with the traditional Yeast Cube, but have puts notes about the modern sachet versions.

The Cost Of COOKING UTENSILS

Most cooking utensils in Hungary tend to be around the same price as in England (UK). And even if you argue that non-Stick Baking Tins, Cup-Cake Tins and Whisker can be found cheaper in England (UK), it would not be worth the hassle of exporting them from England (UK) for the small amount you would save.

NOTE: Shop around - Cooking utensils that are normally plastic but of good quality, I normally buy from the One Euro shop (the equivalent of a £1 shop in the UK). The plastic measuring cups are an example. However, if I want better quality cooking utensils I usually buy from Tesco; even if I have to pay a little more. Metal cooking utensils are not always better either simply because they rust easily.

How I Make And BAKE WHITE BREAD

Although I keep my bread simple, it does not stop me from experimenting with flour, raisins, egg and variations of mixture; even if I sometimes get disastrous results! Here is the main method I use to make and bake white bread (English names used):

STEP #1 - Heat some refrigerated/cold milk just above room temperature only, either in a microwave for exactly 30 seconds or in a small saucepan on medium gas heat for exactly 1 minute 20 seconds; so that the milk is just above room temperature. This is crucial to the success of baking bread and more precisely to activating the yeast and not killing it with a temperature that is too hot.

NOTE: Many cooking websites and YouTube videos suggest the milk should be between 100 and 110 fahrenheit (between 37.7 and 43.3 celsius), which is too hot for the yeast; hence why I heat my milk to around 30 celsius (91.4 fahrenheit), as advised by my MSc Chemistry degree holder friends.

TEMPERATURES: Although room temperature is not exact, because of variations (i.e. summer versus winter, damp room and central heating versus no central heating), it is generally accepted as being between 20 and 25 degrees celsius (between 68 and 77 degrees fahrenheit).

LUKEWARM: Lukewarm (neither hot nor cold) is generally between 98 and 105 degrees fahrenheit (between 36.5 to 40.5 celsius), but others have it at between 80 and 90 degrees fahrenheit (between 26.6 and 32.2 celsius). Hence why there can never be 'the perfect recipe'!

STEP #2 - Pour the heated milk into a plastic or glass bowl

STEP #3 - Sprinkle 1 level tablespoon of granulated sugar into the heated milk.

STEP #4 - Break up 15g of a Yeast Cube and sprinkle it into the heated milk. The yeast cube starts off like a rubbery cheese cube that then has a crumbly cheese texture when broken up - left photo, below.

Many cookbooks and websites recommended between 7g and 10g, but I find this does not really work too well. I would say at least 15g. It depends on how well you want your bread to rise and how well you mix and knead the dough.

STEP #5 - Allow the yeast to fully activate by placing a clean, dry, tea-towel over the plastic or glass bowl and leaving it to stand (covered) for between 20 minutes and 30 minutes; so that the yeast has enough time to fully activate (bubble/froth as it eats into the granulated sugar). I often leave it for 45 minutes to one hour. For good results: Put the bowl in the microwave (not switched on) or in a dark cupboard and close the door.

Bread Yeast Mixture

Various stages of creating the milk and yeast mixture

What you are looking for when you take the yeast bowl out of the microwave or dark cupboard and remove the tea-towel are tiny bubbles, and perhaps a little foaming, on the surface of the now cooled milk whereby the yeast now looks like flat pieces of flake that have not quite dissolved (right photo, above). If there is no sign of these things it means your yeast has failed to fully activate; especially if the yeast pieces are still lumpy.

STEP #6 - Sprinkle 1 or 2 teaspoons of table salt into the cooled, yeasted, milk mixture for flavour, if desired. At this point you could also add flavourings, colourings, oil and/or butter for example to the mix, but here I am only adding regular table salt.

STEP #7 - Add 2 level cups of baking flour to the milk mixture. One level cup is 240 ml. There is no need to sprinkle or sieve the baking flour. Just dump it into the milk mixture.

Bread Flour Mixture

Two cups of baking flour are added and mixed into the milk and yeast mixture

STEP #8 - Stir the baking flour into the milk mixture. I use a 200 Watts Electric Handheld Mixer on setting 1 until the flour has dissolved into the milk mixture whereby the milk mixture is still runny; like a medium-thick soup consistency. If you do not have or do not want to use a handheld electric mixer, you can use a standard handheld metal whisk instead.

Bread Flour Mixture

The 3rd cup has been added and is being mixed (whisked)

STEP #9 - Add 1 more (the third) level cup of baking flour to the milk mixture and stir until the milk mixture begins to form into a slightly sticky bread dough mixture; so it is no longer milky.

WARNING! - ELECTRIC MIXER - WARNING!

NOTE WELL: This is the very last point at which you can use a handheld electric mixer simply because the milk mixture will begin turning into a slightly sticky bread dough mixture with the third level cup of baking flour whereby adding a fourth level cup of baking flour will make the bread dough mixture too tough for the handheld electric mixer to operate properly.

A handheld electric mixer can even stop working or break (blow up) because of the toughness of the bread dough, which is what happened to my new handheld electric mixer. Luckily I got my money back and bought a better handheld electric mixer. Either way, DO NOT USE a handheld electric mixer after the third level cup of baking flour.

Bread Flour Mixture

4th cup added, hand mixed with a wooden spoon and shaped into a ball.

STEP #10 - Add 1 more (the fourth) level cup of baking flour to the now sticky bread dough mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until that sticky bread dough mixture becomes even tougher and stickier to manage. The bread dough will stick to the wooden spoon, sides of the bowl and your hands, which is quite normal. Just keep stirring until most of the bread dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, no longer sticks too much to the wooden spoon and can be shaped into a ball.

STEP #11 - Now add a level half-cup of baking flour to the now tougher, ball shaped, bread dough mixture, which will be the final baking flour, and knead it (massage it) in by hand until 99 percent of the bowl is without baking flour and the ball shaped bread dough no longer sticks to your hands (or a wooden spoon). The bread dough will still be tacky to touch, but should not be sticky whereby it still sticks to your hands (or a wooden spoon). So knead it in the bowl, and on a floured table top if necessary, for about 15 minutes and then shape into a ball.

STEP #12 - Grease (olive oil, butter or margarine) the bottom and sides of a, different, glass bowl and place the bread dough ball inside it. Now move the bread dough ball around the greased up glass bowl, as though you are swilling water, so that the bread dough ball's bottom and lower sides get covered in grease. Now turn the bread dough ball over, so its bottom is now its top, and move the bread dough ball around the greased up glass bowl again; so that the whole of the bread dough ball is slightly covered in grease.

STEP #13 - Cover the greased up glass bowl, with bread dough ball inside it, with cling film and a clean tea towel and leave it to stand for 45 minutes to 60 minutes in a closed, switched off, microwave or closed dark cupboard; just like you did when letting the yeast activate. What you want to happen here, if your yeast fully activated, is for the greased up bread dough ball to rise and double in size. If you are lucky, it might even treble in size.

STEP #14 - Take the bread dough ball out of the glass bowl, which will now have a glossy/silky/oily texture and should be at least double its original size, and poke it to take out its air. Now knead it for 10-15 minutes and then place it inside a bread baking tin. Pat it into the baking tin so that it is evenly spread and then cover it with a tea towel for 30 minutes or so. It should then rise to the top of the baking tin and might even overflow, which is quite normal.

At this point the bread dough is ready to bake, so just put it on the middle shelf of your pre-heated 150 degrees celsius fan oven and wait 30-40 minutes for it to bake. After 40 minutes the top of the baked bread starts to burn, hence why I say 40 minutes is really its maximum baking time.

Bread Flour Mixture

The bread has been baked for 40 minutes, left to cool for one hour and sliced.

STEP #15 - Allow the bread to cool down for 10 minutes before taking it out of its baking tin. Then let it cool down for a further 10-20 minutes before slicing and eating.


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