Hot fresh bread – what could be better? I challenge anyone not to be tempted by the hot delicious crust giving way to the fluffy steamy interior, the perfect blend of crunchy softness.
Once upon a time I worked as a baker with my dad. It wasn’t a permanent career move by any means but ever since I have always been drawn to baking my own, yet for some reason I’ve never really given it a go at home – until now.
My favourite breads are crusty, hearty artisan numbers. Even better if they are sourdough. I thought I would start with a basic recipe for a white loaf – yeast, water, sugar, salt, oil and flour.
Making bread is easy, getting the feel for it is another thing all together. Finding the right balance of kneading, proving, re-kneading and baking takes practice, like all things when it comes to food!
This was my 2nd attempt at the basic white bread recipe:
The recipe is simple:
– 1 x packet dried yeast
– 3 cups white plain flour
– 1 1/4 cups water
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tsp sugar
– 2 tsp salt
Add 1/4 cup warm water to the yeast, cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Once the yeast is ready (it will froth) combine with remaining water and slowly add to dry ingredients, mixing with a wooden spoon. Once all the ingredients have combined into a rough dough, slowly add the oil until combined.
Dust the surface and begin kneading (plenty of great resources online on how to do this!) after 5 minutes the dough should feel firm but stretchy, form into a ball. Place into a clean oiled bowl and roll around to coat, covering it with cling film.
Place bowl in a warm place and allow to rise for up to an hour – the dough should at the very least double in size. Punch it down, shape into a loaf, cover in cling film and allow to rest for for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
Place a pan with 4 cups of boiling water at the bottom of the oven to generate steam. Cut slits into the top of the loaf and place into the oven on the middle rack – this works better if you pre-heat the pan, just make sure to use baking paper or it will stick! Remove pan of water after 10 minutes then continue to bake for 20-25 more minutes. It’s done when you tap the bottom of the loaf and it sounds hollow. That’s it!
It’s really not as scary as it looks, great thing is if you get it wrong, flour and water are a really cheap combo!