That Good and Reliable White Bread Recipe
Sometimes I want to bake classics. I don't want pomp and ceremony, I want straightforward and non fussy. This is my go to white bread recipe that I have morphed into other things; rolls, loaves, flavoured, different flour mixes, different fat contents, no fat contents. It has become one of my staples because it is a good foundation recipe that I can build on if I so desire.
This time, I have decided to go with straight up, unadulterated white bread. This recipe makes 1 loaf (as you can see, I 25cm square tin)
400gm strong, white flour
2 tsp salt
300ml warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Surebake yeast
extra flour for dusting
oil spray for the tin
2 - 3 tbsp oil for finishing
In a bowl, place the flour and the salt. Mix well.
In a jug, add the water, olive oil and yeast. Leave aside for a couple of minutes to let the yeast rehydrate and activate. After this, pour into the middle of the flour and mix together to form a dough. Once the dough is formed, turn out onto a clean and dry bench and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elasticated.
Once the dough is looking lovely, lightly spray a clean mixing bowl and place the dough inside. Cover with cling film or a tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove. Depending on the atmosphere, this could take a wee while. Sometimes in the cooler months, I turn the oven on to 100C for a bit, while I am kneading. Then, when I am ready to prove the dough, I turn the oven off, spray or sprinkle the dough with some water, cover and place in the oven. This is like a prove booster. Definitely keep a close eye when doing this technique, if you find the dough is proving too fast or drying out, just open the door for a bit and spray a little more water in there. The dough will be ready once it has doubled in size.
Once the dough is ready, turn the dough out onto a clean bench, with a sprinkling of flour and knock it back a bit. Spray the baking tin and place the dough inside, gently stretching it out to fit the tin. Cover again and leave in a warm place to prove.
Once proved, turn the oven onto 210C. Take the clingfilm off, give it a bit of a water spray and place in the centre of the oven. Bake the dough for 12-15mins, until starting to turn golden. Once the bread is ready, brush with olive oil while still hot - this will give it a pleasingly chewy crust. When cool enough to handle, remove from the tin and leave to cool a bit further. You can brush the sides with oil if you so desire.
Below: fresh warm sliced bread with salted butter and a quick plum jam