There really is nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread around your home. It is so inviting and when you have time to make this, it really does beat shop bought sliced bread in a packet – ANY DAY!
What you need:
- 500g strong white flour, and a little more for dusting
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- room temperature water (about 300 – 400ml)
- olive oil for greasing
MKA tip: add 2 teaspoons of your favourite dried herbs to make a flavoured bread. My favourite is a mixture of dried Italian herbs …and of course dried chilli flakes 🙂
How to make it:
- Place the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and making a well in the middle. Pour in about 250ml of your water and use your fingers or a wooden spoon to mix the flour and water together until combined to a slightly wet, flexible dough. Then add a few more splashes of water if necessary.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 mins until smooth and elastic. I would knead for 15mins just to be safe as this part is quite important for a really nice and soft texture.
- Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size. Then pre-heat the oven to 200 Celcius.
- Knock back the dough by tipping it back onto a floured surface and pushing the air out. Mould the dough into an oval ball shape and place in your tin. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for a further 30 mins.
- Dust the top of the loaf with a little more flour (you can slash the top with a sharp knife to create a nice effect for your loaf after baking) Bake the bread for 15 mins, then reduce the heat to 170 C and continue to bake for 30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when removed from the tin and tapped on the base. Leave the bread on a wire rack to cool completely.
The bread will stay fresh in an airtight container for about 2 -3 days or can be frozen for 1 month. You can also use old bread to make breadcrumbs by toasting it slightly so the moisture is taken out of the bread and then whizz up into crumbs in a processor.