During the pandemic, many people started trying out new hobbies that they had never had the time to pick up before- including bread-making. The more time people had to spend at home cooking up their own meals rather than eating out, the more they realised the importance of knowing the basics.

Well, BAC’s Skills club got your back because they came back once again with another cooking session. This time, the members of the skills club and their guests gathered to learn just how to make bread with the help of Chef Raymond Marcus.

Before starting the session, it took some effort to make Chef Raymond wear the chef hat for the sake of aesthetics. Once he finally put it on, it was time to get to business.

The ingredients for making bread are relatively simple- it’s the handwork that goes into it that takes up most of the time. Only three ingredients are required to make a basic loaf of bread – 3 cups of flour to make 2 pounds of bread, 1 ½ teaspoon of salt, a cup of water and yeast.

For the flour, Chef Raymond suggested wheat flour or wholemeal flour and for the Indian households, even atta flour would do! For salt, it is recommended to use sea salt was recommended as it dilutes better and makes it easier to knead the bread. Although instant yeast may be “unnatural”, per Chef Raymond, it is also the quickest way to make bread.

To start off, the surface table should be wiped clean as most of the kneading happens there.
Next, pour all of the flour on the table and create a well in the middle of that heap of flour. To make it more precise, use four to five fingers.
Slowly pour half a cup of water into the well and start mixing with a fork. (Make sure to bring the flour from the side of the well into the mix as well!) Slowly add more water as the mixing progresses until the dough doesn’t feel too dry.

During the entire session, Chef Raymond had a lot of fun cracking jokes. He brought up how chefs in cooking shows love to talk a lot while cooking and they make it look effortless, but in reality, it is actually really tiring to keep up with that energy throughout.

Moving on to the next step, which was to start kneading the dough by hand. The tip Chef Raymond gave when folding the dough was to use body weight instead of only the strength from the wrist.
At this time, the dough may easily come apart as the protein chains have not been bound yet.

Eventually, the yeast should be added in so that it can react with the sugar in the dough. (The salt, however, shouldn’t be added in just yet as that would prevent the yeast and sugar from reacting to each other.) Only after properly mixing the dough can the salt be added in. Proceed to knead the bread with the back of the palm by repeatedly pressing down and folding back.

Once the bread feels soft, it is ready to go into the oven to be baked. That is how fresh bread is made!

The entire process was really fun, especially with all my friends who came along. It was fun to meet new people who all came together and united for this one session where we leave aside our worries and focus on this one moment where we are all present together to make bread.

In the end, I ended up with flour all over my shirt and shoes and I would do it again! I can’t wait for the next cooking session organised by Skills club and hopefully there will be more people joining in hopes of picking up a new skill.

Watch the video below to see what some of the other participants had to say about the event!