- 500g strong white flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon of salt
- 10g fresh yeast (5g of dried yeast)
- 300ml water
- 50ml olive oil or rapeseed oil
- 2 x 400g (1lb) loaf tins
Copied directly from ILoveCooking Ireland’s “Yeast Bread Masterclass”
- Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crumble the yeast into the water so that it dissolves. Add the water and olive oil to the well.
- Don’t worry too much about the temperature of water. Water straight from your cold tap is fine. The only thing to avoid is having your water too hot as that will kill the yeast. All that will happen if your water is cold is that bread will take longer to prove, which isn’t a bad thing. The longer bread proves the more flavour that gets to develop. Think of your yeast like a baby you’re giving a bottle to: you want the water just nice and tepid.
- Bring the dough together with your hands or with a spatula. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Knead the dough for 10 seconds. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and leave to one side for approximately 10 minutes.
- As the dough rests the gluten within the dough continues to develop. It also creates time when you can continue with your daily life.
- When kneading, do not worry if the dough is slightly wet or sticky. Resist the temptation to add any extra flour.
- After 10 minutes return to the dough. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead for another 10 seconds, then return the dough to the mixing bowl and allow the dough to rest for a further 10 minutes.
- The dough will need to be kneaded one more time. After the third time of kneading for 10 seconds the dough should be smooth, soft and elastic.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or wrap in cling film and leave to prove for 60 to 90 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Turn the proved dough out and knock it back. Divide the dough into two equal portions, then shape it into two loaves and place into two 1lb loaf tins. (Or if you prefer a large family loaf just use one 2lb loaf tin.) Cover and allow to prove again for about 50-60 minutes. Your loaf should come to just below the rim of your loaf tin.
- Preheat the oven to 230°C/210°C fan assisted (445°F/gas mark 8). Place a roasting tray into the base of the oven.
- When ready to bake, place the loaves into the oven and pour in water from a boiling kettle into the hot roasting tray which should release a blast of steam. Bake the loaves for about 35- 40 minutes. Remove from the tins and cook for a further 8 minutes just to firm up the sides. Resist the temptation to get stuck in until the loaf cools. Enjoy.