Easy Handmade Manitoba Bread




Introduction: Easy Handmade Manitoba Bread

About: Hi everybody! I'm Filippo from Bologna, Italy! My friends call me Orso (Bear) :) I follow Instructables since 2009, and it has always been one of my favourite websites. I've bulit a lot of fantastic things t...

Hi everyone, I'm Filippo from Italy!

In my opinion, handmade food is usually better than supermarket one.

In particular, handmade bread is completely different from the packed one that you buy from the store. And it's also pretty easy to make.

When I say to my coworkers, friends or family that I make my bread at home, they are often surprised. Bread is seen as something difficult and long to bake. That's not completely true.

There are a lot different baking techniques and yes, some of them require a day-long leavening.

In this Ible, I'll show how to make a delicious and soft bread that requires 3 hours of leavening but an actual work time of less than 20 minutes.

Also, this fresh bread has a life of 5-7 days, or even more, depending on your house humidity.

What is Manitoba flour?

Manitoba flour it's not the most popular one in Italy, but you can find it in almost any market. It's a high gluten flour, with a percentage of gluten higher than 14%. It's made from soft wheat of the Manitoba area (Canada). It's a strong flour, rich of insoluble proteins which contain the gas of the leavening, resulting in noticeable enlargements of the baking product. Thanks to this enlargements, the resulting product will also be softer than classic bread. For this reason, Manitoba is often used in confectionery industry.

Step 1: Ingredients

Another big pro is that bread is extremely cheap!

Here's what you need:

  • 500gr of Manitoba flour
  • 280ml of warm water
  • 10gr of dry brewer's yeast
  • 20gr of salt
  • 10gr of sugar
  • olive oil

That's less than 2€ in ingredients.

It's a handmade recipe, so no power tools involved!

You'll just need a bowl and your oven.

And your hands, of course! :)

Step 2: Making the Dough

Take a large bowl, actually the largest bowl you have. Having a lot of space helps avoiding the flour to go everywhere.

Pour all of the flour (500gr), the salt (20gr) and the sugar (10gr) in your bowl, and mix it well with a fork.

You can use any sugar you prefer, I personally like brown one.

Why the sugar, you may ask? Well, the sugar acts as an assistant to the yeast, improving the leavening process. It's a widely used technique in bakery, also in non-sweet recipe like this bread.

Pour the warm water (280ml) over the mixed flour and also pour dry brewer's yeast (10gr).

Now it's time for brute force.

Step 3: Working the Dough

Handmade means... well, hand made :)

No tools or, worse, power tools are intended here for mixing the dough.

So, rub a good amount of olive oil between your hands and start mixing everything. At the beginning, you may want to be slow and careful, because the wet and dry parts are not mixed and it's easy to pour out a lot of flour.

After a few minutes, the dough will be more homogeneous and sticky, and you can start to apply more strength.

Continue for a few minutes more, until all the flour and water will be completely mixed. You'll end up with a compact dough that will no longer stick between your fingers.

Now, you can put a small amount of flour on your cutting board and start kneading there. You'll soon notice that working the dough is a muscular job! But food is more delicious if seasoned with effort (not really, but it's a nice poetic image).

I usually knead for about 5 minutes, it may sounds like a no-time, but trust me... kneading a strong flour like Manitoba for 5 minutes straight is no joke at all. You can knead for more time if you want, but more than 10 minutes is an overkill.

Note: use palms instead of fingers. You'll apply more pressure and your hands won't hurt after the hard work.

Step 4: Leavening

It's time for the yeast to do its magic, with a little help from sugar.

Take your dough ball and put it on a large baking tin. If you have a nonstick tin, you're ready to go. Otherwise, a quick rub of olive oil will help you to take out the bread after baking.

Now a little trick: take you sharpest knife and make some parallel cuts on the top of the dough. It will help the leavening (creating more surface on the dough) and also gives the classic "bread shape". You can also use a razor blade, it's perfect for this job.

Now, put the baking tin inside the oven (NOT turned on).

After different tests, I've found out that 3 hours is a good rest time for the yeast to produce a satisfactory leavening.

You may let it rests for more time, but 3 hours is enough.

We are using the oven like a "safe place" for the dough, because it protects it from temperature changes that can be armful for the yeast.

After that time, you'll have a beautiful, bread shaped and ready for baking dough!

Step 5: Baking

We are ready for the real baking.

But before that, pour 2/3 small spoons of olive oil onto the dough and spread them lightly with a kitchen brush (I use a silicon one). Don't put too much pressure and don't use too much oil.

Oil will help to convoy the heat more homogeneously on the surface while also soften the crust.

Pre-heat the oven to 175° Celsius, and put in a very small pot with not more than a glass of water in it. This is a common trick for bread baking: water will evaporate during cooking process, creating a very humid atmosphere that will help to mantain a soft crumb and crust.

I've tried with and without water, and I have to say that it really makes the difference.

Note: absolutely AVOID convection bake, it will dry the bread to the core!

Now, bake at 175° Celsius for 25-30 minutes, depending on how you like it. I personally prefer the bread a little "wet" on the inside, so I bake for 25 minutes.

Step 6: Enjoy Your Homemade Bread!

Aaaaand... you're done!

Your delicious Manitoba bread is ready.

You just have to wait 10-15 minutes to let it cool, but if you are like me then you love hot bread! It's difficult to resist.

After some tests, you'll find out the perfect temperature with your oven. On mine, 175°C is just right, on my parents one I have to lower to 165°C for a flawless result.

Now you are cursed: you can't eat shop bread anymore because this one tastes a lot better :)

Enjoy, cheers from Italy!


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25 Discussions

Huh. That's hilarious; I grew up in Manitoba, but I've never heard of 'Manitoba flour' before! Judging by the flour package in the photo, some Manitoba co-operative has done some pretty good marketing at some point. I think what we call high gluten flour is made of hard wheat, though...

1 reply

It's pretty popular in Italy with that name, but it's also known as "American Flour". But yeah I agree, probably marketing has its weight here. It's like all the "Alfredo" recipes in America, I think: here in Italy we have no clue of who Alfredo is and all his recipes don't exist in the first place XD

making a real cheese sandwich on fresh bread is delicious

2 replies

also if you want the best burger ever make it with fresh baked bread you will never use a bun again


1 year ago

I love bread and this sounds terrific. I am from Manitoba and remember the bread there. It really was the best. Winnipeg Rye Bread is another that is unobtainable anywhere, other than Manitoba. I would love that recipe.

1 reply

Thank you v6cmm :) If Manitoba flour is not available where you live, you can try to search for High Gluten flour (check for a protein percentage higher than 14%), it will give you very similar results

Nice! definately trying this tomorrow, I never made my own bread before so wish me luck :p

1 reply

Good luck nmohammad! You'll become a master baker in no time!

The biggest problem with baking your own brread is that it tastes so good, that it never lasts! I have to bake bread in larger batches because my children will devour at least two loaves within 24 hours maybe three! LOL Great recipe Darthorso! I hope you win the contest!

1 reply

Eheheh you're absolutely right. My girlfriend love home baked bread and a normal loaf usually last 1 day, 2 at most :D

Thank you OculumForamen!

The olive oil on the hands - great tip which I plan to use on my next batch. Here in Canada we just call it Bread Flour.. I get mine from a well known mill just down the road from where I live. Thank you for sharing.

2 replies

The quality of the Flour makes a HUGE difference in the bread. Freash milled flour is great. My Family bought an electric Steel grain mill, so that we could all use it when we need. Each of the Children's families have a food storage, and included in that storage are sacks and sacks of Wheat, ready to be ground up! Man that is some good bread! It's funny what each culture uses for their baking. You mention olive oil, but my family never had any real access to olive oil, way back in the day, so we used what we had lots of, and that was Butter or Lard. You'd be pleasantly suprised how good a loaf of bread Lard can make! however, we used butter most times.

Directly from the mill, nothing better than that :)

Yes the olive oil on the hands help to get rid of the stickiness and adds a little flavor to the dough!
Thanks for the visit, vote for me in the Bread Contest if you've liked this recipe!

This is awesome! It caught my attention because I am from Manitoba Canada. I thought it was a local person that created the Instructables. We do have vast fields filled with all kinds of grains and other crops around our province. Glad to see they are shared world wide.

3 replies

Nice!!! I really love Manitoba flour, it's my favorite one actually. Thanks for it! xD

I'm going to have to keep a look out for it as this is something I've not seen before. I wonder if King Arthur offers it on their website?

I use KA hi gluten flower to add a little more gluten to whole wheat bread so it is not as dense. Never used it straight though but with 14.2% gluten protein it should come out the same. I have not used brewers yeast in bread but it sounds interesting. Will have to try this.