Updated: Apr 7
Its really easy to make your daily bread, the smell filling the home is irresistible and comforting. There is little that comes close to the satisfaction of fresh baked bread, topped with cheese and tomato or even just butter,
Makes one loaf (If you want a bigger loaf or two loaves simple double)
4 cups flour
2 tsp yeast
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl, add the water and use one hand to mix together.
Dust a surface with flour and turn out dough. Clean hands.
Knead the dough. This will take about 10 mins (if you have a cake mixer with a dough hook you can use this) Kneading involves rolling, stretching, pushing the dough, fold over, push with the heel of your hand away, fold over, roll away from you etc.
Ferment. Once this is done put a little oil in the bottom of a bowl, shape your dough into a round and place in the bowl. Place a damp tea towel over the bowl and let fermentation begin. Fermentation happens best in a warm environment, by a sunny window, in an airing cupboard, in front of the fire. The bread will rise and double in size. This cab take an hour to 1 1/2 hours.
Knock back the dough. To do this tip your dough out onto a little floured surface and press all over your dough. If you have time and you want a better flavour you can ferment and knock back again.
Turn on oven it needs to be hot to start. Place a baking sheet in the middle of the oven and a baking tray on the bottom. Turn oven on to 250degC.
Shape your loaf. If making more than one split the dough. shape them any way you want, round, long. Cover with a tea towel
Let it rise again. Just leave it, check every 10 mins or so until it has almost doubled in size.
Boil the kettle. The key to a good crust is steam!
Bake. Remove your hot baking sheet from the oven, dust with flour, transfer your loaf, cut the top with a knife a couple of times and pop it back in the oven
Steam. Carefully pour your boiling water into the tray at the bottom of the oven. This will create the steam needed for that awesome crust.
Turn down the temperature after 10 mins to 160degC. It will take about 35 to 35 mins to bake.
When it is ready it will be crusty, golden brown and sound hollow when you tap it.
Cool your bread to make it easy to cut, hot bread is difficult to slice but to be honest, we normally can't wait. Everyone has gathered from the aroma drifting through the house, if you find this is you, you can cut thick slices, or just tear and dip into olive oil with a little balsamic vinegar and enjoy!