Simple, basic and versatile!
This loaf has been a firm favourite for almost as long as I have been baking - and that is going on 10 years! It is the loaf I teach to all my beginner bread baking students and it is the loaf I make when I am pressed for time and need to get bread on the table ASAP! Having said that, it isn't a rushed or quick recipe either - I still allow plenty of time for the dough to work its own magic. Enjoy!
500g white bread flour or AP flour
10g fine sea salt
2 Tbsps. melted butter or olive oil
350g - 400g lukewarm water
1) Mix the salt into the flour, followed by the yeast (making sure the salt and yeast do not come into direct contact.)
2) Add the water and oil/butter (if using) and mix well.
3) The dough will be sticky but should be manageable.
4) Cover with a lid/towel and leave in a cosy place for 1 hour.
5) Fold the dough from the side of the bowl to the middle - rotating the bowl as you go along.
6) Cover and set aside again for an hour.
7) This may be repeated 3-4 times or the dough can be placed in the fridge until the next day.
8) Shaping options:
1) Shape the dough and place in two medium or one large bread tin (greased with butter).
2) Shape the dough and place in a floured bread basket/banneton.
9) Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise until doubled.
10) Baking options:
1) Score/slash the top of the dough and bake at 180*C-220*C for 30-40 minutes.
2) Lightly dust the base of the dough and turn it out of the basket/banneton and into a Dutch oven. Bake with lid at 260*C for 25 minutes. Remove lid, reduce the oven temperature to 220*C and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
11) The loaf/loaves should sound hollow when knocked underneath.
12) Allow to cool before slicing.
PS. The Dutch Oven version of this recipe is available on my YouTube Channel.
Babette's Bread Ltd.