By Meg Elphee
(You can’t go wrong with this) White Bread*
I hold a deep respect for all bakers who dabble with yeast and am impressed by the knowledge and perseverance of those committed to Real Bread. Sometimes, however, I want a loaf that doesn’t require warmth, attention or being swaddled like a baby. Here the dough is deliberately neglected for a taste superior to any shop bought loaf (plus it contains less mystery ingredients). This recipe is mostly by Paul Hollywood so at tea time, feel free to tell yourself: “That’s a good bake.”
500g strong plain flour
14g easy blend dried yeast (two sachets)
50ml olive oil
Using a wooden spoon mix the flour and yeast together, then stir in the salt.
Add the oil and 300ml cold tap water and mix with your spoon to combine.
Tip onto a lightly floured surface. At this point you may be alarmed at how wet it is – don’t be tempted to add more flour, once you start to knead it will come together and you’ll thank yourself later. Knead for 6 minutes.
Put it back in the bowl and leave, uncovered and in any old place, to rise for one hour.
Knock the air out of the dough by punching it. Shape into a ball, put on a baking tray lined with paper and leave, in any old place again, to rise for an hour.
Pre heat oven to 220°C/ Gas 7.
Dust the loaf with flour and cut a deep cross in the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. I check the bottom by tapping on it (if it sounds hollow – it’s done) I have been know to turn my loaf over to get an even bake!
*I have used 250g wholewheat + 250g white flour and it turned out just fine!