Bread, bread, bread.
Most of us love it, lots of us eat it every day, at least here in the UK.
To most it’s one of those things that is always there and gets taken for granted, the filling is of course the star of the sandwich for instance, not the bread.
Still, with the prices of an every day item like bread being sky high and our appreciation for it being quite low, it makes a lot of sense to get stuck into making some of your own.
It’s almost like magic to see a rough and shaggy dough made of hardly any ingredients turn into a loaf of the white stuff and it’s relaxing to boot.
This recipe is a great every day loaf, in fact I have been baking it every day this week and it’s been great.
It’s really easy, all it really needs is time for rising, the rest is as easy as pie…erm…bread.
It’s very versatile so if you fancy putting on a few sesame seeds or mixed seeds like pumpkin or poppy seeds it couldn’t be easier, just press them in to the dough right before baking.
All credit for the recipe goes to Paul Hollywood though as ever I have changed the instructions to make them more clear and concise!
Paul Hollywood’s Crusty Round Bread Loaf
500g white bread flour plus extra
40g soft butter
12g instant fast action dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
300ml warm (not hot) water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil plus extra for greasing
In a large bowl, place in the flour.
Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the butter and salt to the other side.
Mix together so the yeast and salt is well distributed.
Add half of the water to the bowl and start bringing it together with one hand using the other to pour more water in gradually until it comes together into a rough dough which leaves behind no flour but isn’t too moist and sticky.
You may not use all of the water, you may need a little more.
On a work surface, pour on about 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and rub it in.
Place the dough on it and fold it in on itself, turning a quarter turn the repeating until the dough is completely lightly covered in oil.
Knead the dough, by stretching it out and folding it back in on itself until it becomes shiny, elastic and able to stretch without breaking immediately.
Lightly oil your bowl and place the dough back in.
Loosely cover it with cling film and leave it in a warm place until it has doubled in size 1 – 2 hours.
Once the dough is double it’s original size, turn it back on to your work surface and knock the dough back, this is done by pressing the air that has developed out of the dough, until it’s back at around it’s original volume.
Prepare a baking tray much larger than the uncooked loaf then shape the loaf gently into a round, placing it on the baking tray.
Leave this to double in size, loosely covered with cling film, 1 – 2 hours.
Place your oven rack on the middle position and at the bottom of your oven, place in a deep oven safe tray of a little water, this makes steam that will improve the loaf.
Preheat the oven to 200oc Fan or 220oc.
Gently rub in a little flour or press on your seeds then with a large extremely sharp knife, slash the top of the loaf in a diamond or cross shape.
Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Check it is cooked by knocking on the bottom, if it sounds hollow it is cooked.
Place on a cooling rack and let cool, uncovered, for at least an hour or two before cutting in.