The essential bread recipe: classic white loaf
PUBLISHED: 16:47 18 August 2015 | UPDATED: 10:25 19 August 2015
Dom Salter, Food Director at award-winning bakery The Sandwich Box, shares his simple recipe for every bread-makers essential bake – the basic white loaf – perfect for Bake Off fans cooking along to Bread Week
500g Local good quality strong bread flour
310ml Warm water*
10g Fresh yeast
10g Table salt
*Top tip: Mix hot and cold water to achieve a temperature of 35° (Hand hot if you do not have a thermometer.)
Preheat oven to 220°C
1. Use a large bowl that will accommodate all ingredients and digital scales to weigh out the flour. Add the yeast, rubbing it into the flour. Add the water and mix into a slightly sticky dough.
2. Cover the bowl with cling film or a cloth placing it in a warm place for 40 mins. Proving your dough without the salt gives the yeast time to ferment developing the gluten and producing gas. This process will cut down the time kneading the dough and will be better for your digestion.
3. Add the salt to 10ml of water and add to your dough mix with your hands distributing the salt thoroughly.
4. Tip the dough onto a clean work surface. Start to work the dough pushing with the heal of your hand pulling back towards you and turning the dough as you knead. The dough will become more stretchy and elastic, the appearance will be smoother. Continue for about 7 minutes (this is like a mini workout!) Top Tip: If you want to see different kneading methods, check out Youtube.
5. Put the dough back into the bowl cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½hrs.
6. Tip the dough out on to a floured surface. Next, bring the edges into the centre of the dough turn over and spin the dough clockwise using both hands tucking the dough under as you turn, stretching the top of the dough ball.
Now you have your basic dough you can choose what to do with it: pitas, rolls or a loaf. To shape a loaf, you will need the following:
• water spray bottle
• sharp knife
• 2lb loaf tin
7. To shape a loaf, first press the dough into a long rectangle, mentally marking the rectangle into thirds fold the first third over the second, then the third over the other two, then turn 45° and holding the dough end furthest away from you, pull and roll the dough towards you as tight as you can. Place the dough on a baking parchment on an oven proof tray or in a 2lb loaf tin. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise for 40mins.
8. Now the exciting bit, use a sharp knife to slash the loaf, giving it a unique design. This also causes the rise in the oven to focus on the cut, thus controlling the shape of the loaf.
9. Put the loaf into the pre-heated oven for 30mins. Just before shutting the oven door, spray water onto the sides of the oven to create steam. Turn the oven down to 200°C after the first 10 minutes.