If you’ve never made bread before then it can seem daunting but I promise you it’s a very easy process. If you buy a tin of easy bake yeast then there’s a quick recipe on the back that will made decent enough white bread but by following these simple, additional steps you can achieve a wonderful white loaf that works as the basis for many different types of loaf. It will take time to rise (about 2 hours total) but needs less than 30 minutes of active preparation and is worth it.
300g strong white bread flour (strong flour)
1.5tsp (5g) dried instant yeast
150ml warm water (1 part boiling to 2 parts cold)
10g melted butter or olive oil
Place the flour in a large bowl with the yeast on one side and the salt on the other (if the salt and yeast touch then the salt will kill the yeast). Pour in the sugar, water and oil or butter. Use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix everything together into a dough. Tip it out onto a floured work surface and knead it, pushing the ball of dough away from you with the heel of your hand and then bringing it back towards you. Repeat this for about 10 minutes until the dough is stretchy and doesn’t break if you stretch a golfball sized piece so thin you can see the light through it.
Oil a large, clean bowl and place the dough into it. Cover the top of the bowl tightly with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).
Take out of the bowl and knock it back by kneading it as before for a minute. Roll it into a ball and tuck down the sides repeatedly so that the top becomes tight. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and cover loosely with clingfilm. Once again, leave it to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 220ºC while the bread is proving.
Take the clingfilm off the bread and sprinkle with flour. Slash the top of the loaf with a knife (see image) to allow the bread to rise in the oven.
Place the loaf in the hot oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the crust is golden and it sounds hollow when you tap the base (this sounds odd but you’ll understand when you hear it).
Leave to cool on a wire rack and then enjoy warm, slathered with butter.
Next week make sure to advance to our Malt Loaf