Plain white loaf

This week, a classic. It’s not imaginative, it’s not adventurous, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a beautiful, exciting thing. There’s something so comforting and lovely about a big slice of warm homemade bread, smothered in jam.

bread 002

My recipe changes slightly every time so this is a mix of recipes from the side of the flour packets, and other stuff I’ve picked up over the years.

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 7g dried fast-action yeast
  • 1.5tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 15g butter
  • 300ml lukewarm water

Method

  1. Rub the butter into the flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the flour, and the yeast to the other side (just to keep them separate until you add the water).
  3. Pour in about 200ml of the water and mix it all together with your hands. Then use your judgement when adding the water – you want a soft, but not sticky, dough.
  4. Pop the dough onto a floured surface and knead it for 5-10 minutes. I don’t like it when people use dough as a punch bag, I like to treat it with a bit more respect and knead it thoroughly, but gently!
  5. Cover the bottom of the mixing bowl with a little oil then put the dough back in it, and cover with cling film. Leave it in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
  6. When doubled, toss it back out onto a floured surface and knock the air out of it then knead it gently for a couple more minutes. Then put it back in the bowl and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  7. Now put the dough in the bread tin/on the baking tray, and shape it how you want it. I like to just form a rough rectangle on a baking tray and let it do it’s own thing – it ends up looking nice and rustic. Once you’ve got it how you want it, put it in a plastic bag and put it in a warm place for a final 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat the oven up to 200 degrees C.
  8. Put it in the oven for around 30 minutes – take it out when it’s browned and sounds hollow on the bottom when tapped.
  9. Leave it on a rack to cool.

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Ultimate comfort food! A simple but lifesaving recipe that can cheer up even the coldest, most miserable February day.

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