This is a crusty white bread which I bake in a traditional loaf pan. Whenever I want to remind my family that life’s greatest pleasures are hidden in the simple things, this is my go-to. If you don’t have a loaf pan you can shape the dough into a round and bake it on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
750g white bread flour
10g instant yeast
50ml olive oil
500ml lukewarm water
Add the white bread flour, salt and yeast to a bowl.
Add the olive oil and most of the water. Stir the flour and water to form a dough and add small amounts of the remaining water until the dough looks as though it is coming together. Keep in mind that it is easier to add more water than “taking water out” of your mixture.
Now knead the dough either in the bowl or turn it out onto a work surface. Knead at a steady pace for a good ten minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and place somewhere warm where there is no draft. I usually place mine inside a kitchen drawer next to the oven. Leave to proof for 1-2 hours or literally until it has doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a work surface and knead it down. This basically means gently squeezing out the air. Keep squeezing/kneading for a minute or so.
Shape the dough into a rough log shape and gently place into a sprayed/greased loaf tin. Cover the tin with a tea towel and leave to proof for another 20 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 230℃.
Once the loaf has proofed, place it in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
Without opening the oven door, turn the heat down to 200℃ and bake a further 20 minutes.
Finally, without opening the oven door, turn the heat down to 180℃ and bake for a final 20 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Brush some olive oil over the top and simply stand and admire your handiwork for 10 minutes while still in the tin. After 10-15 minutes you may turn the bread out onto the cooling rack. Loosely cover it with a tea towel and leave to cool or live dangerously, burn your hands and slice a warm crusty slice…Yum!