Bread is great, isn’t it? Is there anything better than a thick-cut slice of warm fresh bread, slathered with butter (and that’s real butter, not spread.. don’t go defiling such a glorious loaf with artificial spread, unless you’re vegan of course in which case I apologise)?
Making bread can be a scary thing. Far more terrifying than making a cake, there’s no yeast in (most) cakes, all your raising agents are nice and synthetic and you don’t have to deal with anything living! But, be not afraid, this recipe is gloriously easy, and unlike making a cake, bread making involves lots of hour-long proves, so you can do a bit, make yourself a cup of tea, watch something on Netflix (ah, the modern baker) and then do a bit more. Brilliant.
Makes 1 large loaf
- 500g of strong white bread flour
- 1 x 7g sachet of fast-action yeast
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 300ml water
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil (and a little more for greasing the mixing bowl)
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt.
- Measure out the water and add olive oil, pour the oil and water into the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Lightly flour a clean surface. Tip your dough onto the surface and knead until smooth (this might take a while, you may need to recruit another pair of arms to help).
- Make sure the mixing bowl is free of any scraps of dough, and lightly oil the inside before transferring the dough back to the bowl, and covering it with clingfilm. Allow to prove for an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
- Once proved, knock back the dough, gently shape into a round loaf and transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
- Cover with a tea towel and allow to prove for another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 220˚C.
- After the dough has proved a second time, dust with flour and make a cross in the top of the dough with a sharp knife.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. (If you’re unsure if your loaf is baked, turn it over and tap the bottom, it should sound hollow… but be careful, it’ll be hot)
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. (Make sure you listen out for the crust cracking as the bread cools, this is my favourite bit!)