Since my highly successful croissant experiment I have begun to consider myself the Queen of Baking, the Baroness of Bread if you will. So I have decided to share my newfound expertise with all you lovely people. The important counterpoint being that I am actually not that good at baking/ know very little about it so have made the easiest possible recipe.
The key with bread I have realised is patience. It takes a long tome to make and a huge amount of sitting around is involved but, if you have the time, the result is definitely worth it, so much cheaper than a supermarket loaf and so much more delicious.
Makes 1 crusty Loaf:
- 250g Strong White Bread Flour
- 5g Salt
- 5g Dried Instant Yeast
- 15g Unsalted Butter
- 160ml Cool Water
- Oil (Olive, Sunflower, Vegetable).
How to Make it…
- Measure out your flour into a mixing bowl and add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Now add the softened butter and a little of the water. Begin to slowly bring the ingredients together with your fingers adding more and more water as you go. By the time all of the water is added all of the ingredients should be incorporated. Keep working the dough until it is soft rather than wet.
- Now turn out the dough onto an oiled work surface. Oil is better than flour here because it does not alter the consistency of the dough but it stops it sticking. Put some oil on your hands and start kneading. I find the best way is to use one hand to keep the dough stable and the other to stretch it out and push it back in. Everyone has their own technique that works for them. The only really important thing is to be super vigorous and really bash it about a bit!
- You will know that its ready if you can press one finger lightly into the dough and it springs back to its original shape. Lightly oil your mixing bowl and place the dough inside and cover with a tea towel. Place in a warmish room until it has doubled in size, this takes between one and two hours.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface this time. Gently knock out some of the air as you form it into a cob shape. The best way to do this neatly is to simultaneously rotate the dough, smooth down the top and tuck any excess underneath.
- Now place the dough on the tray you will bake it on, make sure it is lined with baking paper so that it doesn’t stick. It now needs to prove for another hour inside a plastic bag, until it has again doubled in size.
- It should bake for around thirty minutes in a 230 degree oven. To improve the bread’s crust you can place a baking tray of hot water in the bottom of the oven, filling it with steam. Your bread is ready when it is golden and crispy and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Slice it up, lather it with butter and enjoy!!