Basic home made white bread

19 Dec

I was asked for some bread advice. I think basic home made white bread is a great place to start. It’s tasty bread and with fast acting yeast it’s easy to make. Try it a few times and enjoy. When happy, try building on your skills. The timings for the dough and kneeding are quite flexible and depend on the temperature of the room.

This recipe will make two small loaves (500g tins) or one larger one (1kg tin).

Recipe for the bread

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 325g water
  • 1 sachet (7g) of fast acting yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of fine salt

Other requirements

  • Bowl
  • Light oil such as sunflower oil (about 30ml)
  • Clean work surface – counter, table – for kneading.
  • Bread tins (2 x 500g tins or 1 x 1kg tin) – non stick is probably good at the beginning.
  • Dough scraper (optional but useful)

Process

  1. Put everything in a bowl and mix. It’s ok for the mixture to be rough and sticky mixture at this point. (You can use a mixer if you want but don’t use for more than a couple of minutes).
  2. Leave for 10 minutes or so.
  3. Oil a clean work surface with about 10ml of sunflower oil or another light oil. Pour oil on surface and spread it around with your hand. This is to prevent the dough sticking.
  4. Tip all the mixture out of the bowl onto the oiled work surface. A dough scraper is useful here but not essential.
  5. Kneed for a couple of minutes to bring all the mixture together. Hopefully it’s a bit smoother.
  6. Put back into the bowl and leave for 10 minutes.
  7. Clean the work surface as some dough will have stuck to it – a dough scraper is useful for this.
  8. After the 10 minutes mentioned in step 6, oil work surface again, tip out the dough and kneed it again for another couple of minutes.
  9. Repeat step 7 and 8 one more time to give you a third kneed.
  10. Leave the dough for about 30 minutes to ferment. The time can vary up to an hour. The speed of the fermentation depends on temperature.
  11. Oil your tin(s). A small bit of oil on a piece of kitchen roll rubbed around the tin(s) works well.
  12. Tip out the dough. You can divide it in two for two smaller loaves (400g of dough) or leave as one larger loaf – depending on the tins you have and the size loaves you like.
  13. Press it out into a circle and then fold edges like an envelope to make a sort of loaf shape.
  14. Put dough in tin(s) and leave to prove (see picture).
  15. After about 30 minutes, put your oven onto 220oC to heat depending on how long your oven takes to heat.
  16. Check the dough at 45 minutes – dough should come to just below the top of the tin – not over! See picture. The time depends on temperature in the room. If not ready leave for 15 minutes and check again. If in doubt better to cook it sooner rather than let it collapse.
  17. When the loaves looked proved dough should come to just below the top, assuming the oven is up to temperature – put in the tins and reduce the heat to 200oC
  18. The bread should cook in 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven. Depending on how crusty you like your bread, you might like to take it out of the tin(s) for the last 10 minutes. Hollow sounding base, looking good and smelling really good are all indications that the bread is cooked. See picture.
  19. Allow to cool and enjoy.

Notes

Good bread will last a couple of days. It will change a bit over that time but it still tasty. It will also make good toast on the third day.

The amount of water here is called 65%. This will give a nice open texture in the bread but is not too difficult to work. If you like a more closely textured bread, you could reduce the amount of water to 312.5g. For a more open texture to your bread you can increase the water up to 350g which would be 70% hydration. If you go to 70%, you could make a flat bread with a flat tin.

If you fancy, you can prove the bread in a bowl lined with a flour covered tea towel and then turn this out onto a hot oven tray or oven stone. This will give a more ‘rustic’ feel to the loaf.

Inspired by: Delia Smith and Dan LepardThe Handmade Loaf

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