This Basic Bread recipe is absolutely a non fuss, easy to make simple bread. Nevertheless you will make a good impression to your family or guests. Once you have made this bread I ensure you that you will start trying other recipes, like the Focaccia or Spelt Ciabatta.
Making Bread is so easy, it takes a bit of time but the reward of fresh warm bread is phenomenal.
Ones you master this recipe, you can start adjusting the ingredients.
- Use a bit of spelt or wholemeal flour for more flavour (replace 100 grams)
- Add seeds
- Add some raisins, walnuts and dried figs
Makes: 1 loaf | Preparation: 2 x 10 min | Proving: 2 hours | Cooking: 20-30 minutes
Who connected us?! I used the recipe from Jamie Oliver. Jamie is heavily promoting home made bread cooking at the time of writing this recipe, and I find his recipes and cooking style perfect to start with.
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 500g fine ground semolina flour (if you don’t have semolina, normal bread flour will do)
- 30g fresh yeast or 21g dried yeast (3 satchels)
- 30g honey (or sugar)
- 20g table salt
- 325ml tepid water, plus another 300ml tepid water
- Add the honey and yeast to the 325 ml tepid water, stir and leave for a few minutes until the mixture develops some bubbles on top.
- For the next 2 steps I use a stand mixer with a dough hook.
- Mixing; Put the flours in your mixing bowl and add the yeast & water mixture to the flour while the mixer is on low speed. Once all is thoroughly mixed, add the other 300ml of tepid water and 20g of table salt and mix it trough.
- Kneading; Knead the dough for about 5 minutes to activate the gluten in the dough. The dough should get smooth and soft and will have some elasticity.
- After this I usually knead the dough for a few more minutes by hand, folding and stretching the dough. Kneading the dough is an important step because it develops the gluten that ensures the bread gets airy light and develops it shape. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little extra flour.
- If you like you can mix and knead the dough by hand. On a large clean surface, make a pile of all the flour and make a well in the centre. Pour all the dissolved yeast mixture into the centre and with four fingers of one hand make circular movements, from the centre working outwards, slowly bringing in the dry ingredients until all the yeast mixture is soaked up. Pour another 300ml of tepid water and the 20g salt into the centre and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a dough. (Certain flours may need a little more water, so don’t be afraid to adjust the quantities.)
- Make the dough into a roundish shape and place it in a bowl that is big enough to let the dough double in size. Cover with a damp towel and leave the bread to prove for the first time. Basically we want it to double in size. You want a warm, draught-free place for the quickest prove, for example near the cooker, in the airing cupboard, in the plate warmer of a cooker or just in a warm room. This proving process matures the flour flavour and should take approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, depending on the conditions.
- Once it is double the size it’s time to knock it back. Knead and punch the dough, knocking all the air out of it, for about a minute.
- Shape the dough so it fits into a baking tin, that you have lined with baking paper and leave to prove a second time in a warm place until the dough is doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
- Now it’s time to cook your loaf. After all your hard work, don’t spoil your efforts. You want to keep the air inside the loaf, so don’t knock it, put it very gently into the oven and don’t slam the door.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it’s cooked. If you think it looks golden and you think it is cooked, carefully take it out of the tin, not to burn your hands. You can tell if it’s cooked by tapping its bottom, if it sounds hollow it’s cooked; if it doesn’t, pop it back in for a little longer.
- Place the bread on a wire rack to cool. Don’t be tempted to slice the bread when it is still warm, it will crumble.
- Semolina; When you don’t have semolina flour, just use a bread flour instead. You still get a beautiful bread.
- Say NO to all purpose flour; you could take a short cut and use all purpose flour, but you lose in taste and bread-structure.
- Honey or Sugar; a bit of sugar or honey helps to activate the yeast. For the process both sugar or honey will do the job. I choose honey because it is a natural product.
- Tepid water; we use lukewarm water to activate the yeast. Yeast needs a bit of warmed to do its job.
- Salt; 20 grams of salt looks like a lot, but you definitely need it otherwise the bread taste bland. We put in the salt after the yeast mixture is combined with the flour, otherwise the salt might kill the yeast and your bread will not rise.
- Kneading, the fun part; kneading yeast based bread allows the gluten to develop which makes bread airy and light. Without well-developed gluten, your bread would be flat and tough.
- When the bread is proving, the yeast is feeding on the honey in the warmth of the tepid water. In theory the three things that all bacteria need to grow are heat, moisture and food. Any excess of these three things will kill the yeast (as well as salt, which seasons the bread – it’s not half so nice without it, but it does slow down the proving to some extent).