…and you will have mastered the basic techniques for any future yeast-based bread that you will make. You can quickly develop a range of loaves that add variety to any meal and can complement any dish you want. Why not a cheese and onion loaf to accompany a nice beef soup, or a black-pepper and salt flake topped loaf with sun-dried tomatoes to accompany a basic pasta sauce?
- 500 grams strong white flour
- 300 grams water – 200 grams from the tap, rest from a freshly boiled kettle
- 10 grams salt
- 10 grams fast action yeast
- A little vegetable oil
- Dissolve the salt in the water.
- Mix the flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
- Add most of the salt water to the flour and yeast.
- Stir the flour and water together until a rough dough starts to come together.
- Add the rest of the water, continuing to stir, until the dough has picked up all the flour.
- Rub the dough around the bowl until the bowl is clean
- Pour a tablespoonful of oil on a work surface, and spread it thinly
- Work the dough by holding the closest edge and pushing the rest away with the heel of your other hand.
- Fold the further edge back to the closest edge and rotate 90 degrees
- Repeat from step 8 until the dough becomes smooth and non-sticky
- Pour a teaspoon of oil in the mixing bowl
- Fold the dough into a ball, and place in the mixing bowl, turning the dough to cover with the oil
- Cover bowl with a lid or tea-towel and leave for an hour or until doubled in size
- Press the dough down with your fist and then shape into a ball, making sure that any edges that you bring together are sealed
- Place the dough, sealed edges down, on a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray
- Place the baking tray in a cold oven, with a small bowl of boiling water to keep the oven moist and warm. This stops the surface of the dough drying out, and allows it to expand.
- Once the dough has again risen, which will not take as long this time, take it out of the oven and keep in a draught-free place whilst you heat the oven to 220 degrees Centigrade (unless you have a separate oven, in which case you can put the loaf straight into the oven. Either way, when you have a hot oven, put the loaf in to bake for thirty minutes.
- After thirty minutes, test the loaf by tapping it on the bottom, and it should sound hollow.
- Allow to cool for at least an hour on a wire rack, before cutting, buttering and tasting!