Serves: 10(4 Votes)
1 tsp salt (optional)
1 tsp sugar
425ml warm water (if you can't hold your finger in it for a count of ten it is too hot)
700g strong white bread flour
1 tsp yeast
- Sift (or just bung) the flour, yeast sugar and salt into a big bowl.
- Make a well in the centre and add the water.
- Gently start mixing the water with the flour. I use my hands but you can start off with a wooden spoon if you prefer. You may need to add a little more water or flour in the final stages depending on how glutinous the flour is. You are aiming to get a nice clean ball of dough that has left the bowl clean and doesn't stick to your hands.
- Once you have a ball of dough, tip out onto a clean surface and knead for about three minutes or for as long as you like. If I'm making this for pizza bases I don't bother kneading it.
- If you're rushed for time, divide the dough in half, shape each into an oblong and place in two 1lb loaf tins, or make one large loaf or shape into your own loaf and place on baking tray.
- Leave to rise and double in size in a warm place for about an hour.
- If you have more time, place dough in a big bowl, cover with cling-film or a damp tea towel and leave to rise for 1-2 hours, then knock back and knead again, before shaping and placing in loaf tins and letting rise again for about an hour (faffy but worth it if you have the time).
- Bake the loaves in a preheated oven at 230C for 30-40 minutes depending on oven and size of loaf.
- Remove from tin, and tap gently on the underside of the loaf. If it sounds hollow it is cooked. Place back in the oven out of the tip for another 10 minutes to crisp up the crust.
You can add ingredients to this basic recipe, like seeds, grains and flavourings.
I like to make it with sunflower seeds and honey.
You can also add wholemeal flour and adjust the water according to how it feels.
Olives and chunks of feta cheese make it into a nice savoury bread.
I use this recipe for pizza bases all the time too.
Kids can help