I’ve been baking my own bread for a couple of years now. I don’t profess to be any kind of genius at it- I have good days and bad days. Mostly good but there is often a catastrophe and loaves have mysterious holes in the middle from over-proving, or they don’t rise enough in the oven- under-proving. However on the whole (no pun intended) they’re fairly decent and make great toast or sandwiches for a few days. I’ve been asked to share my basic bread recipe so here goes..
500g bread flour (I usually use Doves Farm Organic Malthouse, which has a lovely malty taste)
8g dried easy bake/ fast action yeast (which can go straight into the flour)
30ml olive oil
300ml tepid water
Place the flour in a large bowl. Put the yeast at one side of the bowl and the salt at the other. Add the olive oil and gradually add the water and mix until a reasonably sticky dough is achieved (you may not need all the water or you may need a bit more, depending on the flour you use).Try not to make the dough too wet as it’s very difficult to handle. You should just about be able to handle it without it sticking to your hands too badly. Either turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes OR use the dough hook on a processor or food mixer and knead automatically for 5 minutes until a smooth, stretchy dough is achieved.
Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to prove in a warm place (not direct sun) for about an hour until it is doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead again to knock the air out of it. Roll into a loaf shape and pop into bread tin or place on an oven tray for a free form loaf. Cover with clingfilm (brushed lightly with oil if it is likely to touch the dough) and leave for a further 30 minutes until the loaf has almost doubled in size again.
Dust the loaf with flour and bake in a hot oven -220c- for approx 30 minutes. The bread will be cooked through when it knocks out of the tin easily and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Allow to cool before slicing.