Basic white bread – week 2

Here is a recipe for a small simple white loaf – try it as a variation using wholemeal or malt-house (brown granary) – all made in exactly the same way.

Ingredients

300g (10 ½oz) strong white flour

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp dried active yeast or instant yeast

200 ml (7 fl oz) warm water

Grease a 15cm x 10cm (6in x 4in) loaf tin with vegetable oil and dust it with flour.

Method

If using dried yeast mix it with 2 tsp caster sugar and tip into the warm water and stir. Leave it in a warm place until foamy (about 15 minutes).

If using instant yeast mix it into the flour and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl, then add the oil and warm water. Mix well – you may find it is a little sticky so add more flour if you need to. You will find you have a nice soft dough.

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Form it into a ball and knead it for about 10 minutes. Put a timer on and enjoy! Kneading distributes the yeast and stretches the gluten. Stretch the dough out onto a floured work surface. Fold it in two, squish it into a ball and give it a quarter turn. Repeat the process. You will begin to notice a difference in the feel and texture of the dough as you work – it becomes quite smooth and elastic, less sticky and gooey.

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Place the bread into an oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave it to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.A warm place could be the airing cupboard or a warm room (I use my porch). You can pop the bowl onto a chair by the preheated oven too. Be careful not to leave it in a too-warm place as it will then over-rise and this will spoil the dough.

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When it has doubled in size take the dough out of the bowl and knead for about 2 – 3 minutes. This is called knocking-back. Don’t worry though – the dough will go back to its original size. This is OK. At this point if you want to add seeds or flavourings you can.

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Shape the dough and put it into the prepared tin. Now you are going to prove the bread. Cover the tin with oiled clingfilm. Leave it in your warm place until it has doubled in size again. It should take about ¾ hour. Preheat the oven to 220 °C/ 425 °F or Gas mark 7. Make a lengthwise cut in the top of your loaf. Do this by using a sharp knife and slicing down  quickly. Dust the top with flour.

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Bake for 35 – 45 minutes until it is golden brown. Your bread will be ready when it feels light and sounds hollow when tapped (tip it out of the tin). If it is not ready just bake it a little longer.

Cool on a wire rack.

For a wholemeal variety

The method is exactly the same.

Use 300 g (10 oz ½) stoneground or strong wholemeal flour

1 tsp salt

¾ dried active or instant yeast

200 ml (7fl oz) warm water.

For a malthouse variety

300 g (10 ½ oz) malthouse flour (or any malted brown granary flour)

1 tsp salt

¾ dried active or instant yeast

200 ml (7fl oz) warm water.

 

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