There’s nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread. It’s what draws you into a bakery sometimes, it’s what makes you pull out a tub of butter and jam or heat up a cup of tea. Now imagine that smell filling your kitchen in the morning. This recipe will ensure you wake up everyone in your house with this smell…it might just have your neighbours knocking asking for a slice as well.
Here are some tips to note before baking bread:
- Try not to overwork the dough. If you do overwork the dough, you will end up with tough bread that is hard to chew.
- When leaving the dough to rise, place it in a warm area so that it rises faster such as a warm (not hot) oven. If you are leaving it overnight then you can place it in the fridge to keep it from rising too fast.
- While you’re kneading, the dough should come together and pull away from the sides of the bowl, leaving the bowl mostly clean. Try not to add too much flour during kneading otherwise, you will end up with dry bread.
- 5-6 cups strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tsp salt
- 7g sachet fast-action yeast
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 300ml water
- Mix flour, salt and fast-action yeast in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre, then add olive oil and water, and mix well. If the dough seems a little stiff, add another 1-2 tbsp water and mix well.
- Transfer onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for roughly 10 mins.
- Once the dough is smooth, transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film.
- Leave to rise for 1 hour until doubled in size or place in the fridge overnight.
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Punch the air out of the dough and pull it in on itself.
- Gently mould the dough into a ball and place it on the baking parchment to prove for a further hour until doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 220°C.
- Dust the loaf with some extra flour and cut a cross about 6cm long into the top of the loaf with a sharp knife.
- Bake for 25-30 mins until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.