The basic recipe for bread uses just four ingredients – flour, water, yeast, and salt. It is essential that the yeast you use is in-date and that you use the correct amount of yeast for the recipe. Bread or white flour is the correct type to use for bread making as it holds its risen shape far better. For best results, use bread or white flour.
Follow the recipe carefully, especially when leaving the bread to ‘proof’ which is when the yeast in the flour makes the dough rise. If you want to give your finished loaf a little extra flavor, try adding olive oil as it makes a huge difference.
- 1lb (4 cups) white flour (plus a little extra for dusting)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ ounce packet of fast-action dried yeast
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
- 1 cup warm water.
1. Prepare a large loaf pan by lining it with parchment and dust lightly with flour. Place to one side.
2. Mix the flour, salt and the yeast in a large bowl.
3. Make a depression in the flour and add the olive oil and water. Mix well to form a soft dough. If the mixture is dry, add another tablespoon of warm water.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
5. Shape the dough into an oval and place it in the loaf pan.
6. Cover the pan with a dish towel and leave somewhere warm 72º F (about 22/23ºC) for about an hour. The dough should double in size.
7. Tip the dough out on the floured work surface and gently knock the air out of the dough. Reshape into an oval and return to the loaf pan.
8. Leave to rise for another hour and preheat the oven to 425º F/ 220ºC.
9. Dust the loaf very lightly with flour and score the top diagonally in two places.
10. Bake for 25- 30 mins until the loaf is golden brown. Remove the loaf from the oven. Check if bread is done by tapping on the top with a spoon. If the bread doesn’t sound hollow, return to the oven for a few more minutes. Cool completely on a wire cooling rack before slicing.