Basic white bread

Basic white bread

If you follow me on instagram, facebook or twitter you will know that bake a lot of bread. Most of the time it is sourdough bread and I like it that way. However many people told me that they find baking sourdough too intimidating. Many times I have been asked to provide a basic yeast bread recipe that is good for beginners. I then realised that I never published the actual beginner bread recipe. I now decided it is time to correct this error and publish a basic white bread recipe. I consider this recipe as probably the simplest in my repertoire. So if you fancy to go on a bread baking journey this is the place to start. There is very little that can go wrong with this recipe and it forgives a lot of simple errors. However most of all it is still yummy! It works perfectly in a bacon sandwich. Just throw two rashers of pan fried crispy streaky bacon between two slices of this bread and you get a sandwich perfection. Hold on, I need to take a break and make myself one now!!

Makes one medium loaf.

Equipment required:

  • 800g bread tin
  • Large mixing bowl

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 300g lukewarm water (best way to test the temperature is to dip your fingers in. The water should feel neither cold or warm to touch)
  • 5 – 7g easy bake dried yeast (less yeast, longer it takes to prove but tastes better)
  • 10g salt
  • 20g solid fat (butter is good, I often use lard as it gives a wonderfully soft crumb. You can substitute it with margarine or even coconut oil if you don’t mind your bacon sandwich to smell coconutty)
  • Extra fat to grease baking tinproved bread dough

Method:

  1. Place the salt on the bottom of the bowl. Tip in the flour and yeast. Add the butter and water.
  2. Move the flour around gently, until you’ve picked up all of the flour. You want dough to be soft but not soggy. If it feels too stiff add another 10 – 20g of water.
  3. Use the dough to clean the inside of the bowl and then tip it onto the work surface. Knead for 5 – 10 minutes until the dough feels elastic and starts to form a soft, smooth skin. Avoid adding extra flour during this process. Alternatively you can knead the dough inside the bowl using a method described here. If you are using a mixer with kneading hook attached, knead at low speed for about 3 minutes. Then turn if up a notch and knead for another 7 minutes.
  4. Oil inside of a mixing bowl with about a teaspoon of rapeseed oil and tip the dough back in. Cover with a damp tea towel or shower cap. Leave to rest in a warm place until at least double in size. This should take at least one hour, but it is ok to leave it for 2 – 3 hours.
  5. Tip the dough back onto the lightly floured work surface. Fold it inwards several times to knock out the excess air.
  6. Grease the tin with lard or olive oil.
  7. Form the dough into an oblong by flattening and folding the sides into the middle. Roll the dough gently. The top of the loaf should be smooth with a joint running along the length of the base.
  8. Put the dough into prepared tin, making sure the joint is underneath.
  9. Put the tin inside a clean plastic bag or cover with a damp tea towel and leave to prove for up to 1 hour, until the dough is at least doubled in size.
  10. About 20 minutes before the end of proving time set the oven to 230 centigrade. Put a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven to heat up.
  11. Make a deep slash along the length of the loaf with lame or a very sharp knife. Pour a glass of boiling water into the roasting tin. Put the bread in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 5 minutes reduce the temperature to 220 centigrade.
  12. Check whether the bread is baked by tapping the base to see if it sounds hollow. Leave to cool, out of the tin, on a wire rack.  White tin loaf

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