I’ve been making bread for a long time, mainly using a simple recipe that I know by heart.
It’s very straightforward – a kilo of flour, 600ml of water, 20g of salt and 10g of yeast.
It makes an unpretentious, dependable loaf, but has the flexibility to take on new forms. Substituting half the flour for wholemeal, or mixing it up with a hundred grammes of rye or a couple of handfuls of oats makes the finished loaf very different, but borne of the same simple recipe of a kilo of flour and 600ml of water.
I’ve strayed all over the place, of course. I’ve bought book after book about baking bread, and tried dozens of different methods. High hydration loaves (don’t bother), sourdough, milk loaves, baguettes, all of them. All have their place. All are good, but still the simple recipe remains a backstop in my kitchen.
A kilo of flour and 600ml of water.
Some things are best left as they are. Some things don’t need to be messed with, don’t need to be improved, and this is one of those things. It isn’t fancy, it isn’t artisanal, but it is good and honest.
I’ve done one thing, made one tiny change to this decades old routine, and it’s worked. It’s made things better.