Bread (Bred)

Written By Lucy Pinder on Friday, September 11, 2009 | 8:18 PM


  • 500 g (1.1 lb) Durum wheat semolina
  • 10 g (a bit less than ½ oz) Fresh yeast
  • 15 g (1 tbs) Salt
  • 300 ml (½ pint) Warm water (1 part hot and 2 parts cold)
  • 7.5 ml (½ tbs) Malt extract (OPTION)
  • A small dessert spoon of sugar


Put 150 ml of warm water into the jug and break the yeast into pieces and put it into the jug as well.

Add a small dessert spoon of sugar.

Stir until the yeast is dissolved.

Cover the jug with a kitchen towel and leave to rest for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the semolina flour into a big bowl.

Add the salt.

Stir so that the salt is evenly distributed.

After 10 minutes, whisk the jug contents for few seconds.

To make the process easy, I would suggest using a bread machine to work the dough. Add the jug contents into the bread machine bucket.

Put the remaining 150 ml of warm water into the jug.

Add the semolina flour into the bucket.

On the top of the flour add the remaining 150 ml of warm water.

This is just an option. I like to add a small quantity of malt extract.

Now, knead the dough with the bread machine. Most of the bread machines have a specific program for "kneading". You can vary the kneading time modifying the program as you wish. I suggest kneading the dough for about 15 minutes.

When the dough is ready, sprinkle some plain flour in the bottom of the bowl. Put your dough into the bowl.

No matter whether it is winter or summer, I usually rise the dough inside the oven (with the oven OFF) so that I can create a moist and warm environment. In the bottom of the oven I have a tray in which I pour some boiling water from the kettle. Do that and close the oven door. Now, leave the dough to rise for 2 hours (during this time don't open the oven door - a cold draft of air could collapse the dough).

After 2 hours, the volume of the dough has more than doubled.

Now we do the shaping. Put the dough on a working surface, work it with your hands for a few minutes. Then, using a rolling pin, make a rectangular layer, roughly 20x30 cm and 2-3 cm thick.

Roll it as shown in the photopraph.

Take a pizza tray, or anything similar, and cover it with a layer of baking paper. I usually coat the paper with a few drops of olive oil spread by hand; alternatively sprinkle the tray with flour.

Now, the slashing. With a sharp knife, make three oblique cuts on the top of the roll (about ½ cm deep). Slashing is usually done just before baking but you need to pay attention not to slash an over-proved dough otherwise it will collapse, so the first time you make bread try the slashing just before the proving.

Put the tray in the oven (with the oven OFF) and let the roll to rise again, for the second time. Again, use the same technique of having a tray with boiled water in the bottom and keep the oven door closed.

Let the roll to rise for about 1 hour.

After 1 hour the roll should have doubled its size. Remove the tray with water , set the oven to 220ºC (gas mark 7) and switch it on. From now, cook at 220ºC for about 15 minutes and then turn the oven back to 200ºC (gas mark 6) and continue cooking for 20-25 minutes.

Note: there is a tendency, in many bread recipes, to use steam (spraying water on the oven walls during the first 10 minutes of baking) to improve crispness and colour. Well, with conventional ovens the trick rarely works because first you need a very hot steam hitting the bread surface as fast as it can and second, opening the oven door will cause a heat loss. My suggestion is to keep the oven door shut from start to end, and forget about steam tricks!

When cooking, watch you don't burn the bread. Cooking time may vary depending on the oven (you can protect the top of the bread from excessive burning by covering it with foil).

When the bread is ready, leave it to cool down onto a wire rack before eating it.

Buon appetito!

This is another type of bread (the classic country bread) where I used strong white bread flour instead of semolina. The procedure for making it is exactly the same as per the semolina bread, the only difference being that I do not roll it before the second rising; just make a round shaped ban.

Here again, another version, using strong wholemeal bread flour.

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