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Plain and simple loaf


Makes: 1 medium loaf, about 12 slices; easily doubled
timePrep time: 25 mins
timeTotal time:
Plain and simple loaf
Recipe photograph by Rob Streeter

Plain and simple loaf

Go back to basics with our easy step-by-step recipe and master a plain and simple loaf of bread - soft and fluffy on the inside with the all-important outer crust

Makes: 1 medium loaf, about 12 slices; easily doubled
timePrep time: 25 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (Per slice)
Calories
140Kcal
Fat
2gr
Saturates
0gr
Carbs
26gr
Sugars
0gr
Fibre
1gr
Protein
4gr
Salt
0.3gr

Genevieve Taylor

Genevieve Taylor

Genevieve Taylor is a writer and food stylist whose love of travel inspires her colourful herb and spice-infused food. A little bit obsessed by fire, she is currently working on a book about the wonderful versatility of cooking in a wood-fired oven.

See more of Genevieve Taylor’s recipes
Genevieve Taylor

Genevieve Taylor

Genevieve Taylor is a writer and food stylist whose love of travel inspires her colourful herb and spice-infused food. A little bit obsessed by fire, she is currently working on a book about the wonderful versatility of cooking in a wood-fired oven.

See more of Genevieve Taylor’s recipes

Ingredients

  • 400g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • light olive oil for kneading, about 2 tbsp

Step by step

Get ahead
Prepare to the end of step 1 the day before and chill overnight.
The loaf keeps for 2-3 days or can be frozen for 1 month.
  1. Put 200g of the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast and 275ml warm water, stirring well until you have a wet, sticky dough. Cover and set aside for 1-1½ hours, or until the ‘sponge’ has risen and has lots of big bubbles on the surface.
  2. Add the rest of the flour and salt, stirring until it makes a lumpy dough. Cover and rest for 10 minutes. Scrape the dough onto an oiled worktop.
  3. Oil your hands and knead the dough gently a few time, just pushing it back and forth for about 20 seconds. It will be very wet, sticky and a bit lumpy, but never fear! Scoop up the dough and put it in an oiled bowl, cover and rest for 10 minutes. Repeat twice more. Each time you should see the dough becoming smoother and less sticky.
  4. Cover and leave to prove for 1- 1½ hours, until the dough has risen by about half.
  5. Lightly oil a 900g loaf tin and dust with flour. Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface. Flatten a little (step 3) and pat into a rectangle. Roll up and gently lift into the tin, seam side down. Dust with a little flour, cover and leave to prove for 1-1½ hours until the loaf has risen above the top of the tin.
  6. Preheat the oven to 240°C, fan 220°C, gas 9, with a baking sheet on the centre shelf and an empty roasting tin in the base of the oven.
  7. With a very sharp knife, make 3 slashes diagonally across the top of the loaf to stop it from splitting as it bakes.
  8. Working quickly, pour a mug of cold water into the roasting tin (steam helps the loaf rise, and to develop a good crust) and put the loaf tin onto the hot baking sheet. Bake for about 35 minutes until deep golden brown. Turn out – if you tap the underside of the loaf, it should make a hollow sound. Cool on a rack.
    Tip
    The trick to a great loaf is allowing plenty of time for the yeast to work its magic. This loaf starts as a ‘sponge’ – a very wet dough that kicks off the yeast activation.

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