It’s been a while since I have made a plain white loaf and for some reason it was exactly what I wanted. This is just like a loaf you would get from your local baker’s, and probably better because it is home made and you know that there are no flour improvers or other additives to improve shelf life or speed up the processes.
My everyday loaf doesn’t have any fat in it and it is amazing how much of a difference a little bit of butter can make to the texture.
The top of the loaf cracks when you take it out of the oven and let it cool – you can hear it cracking for quite a while afterwards!
500g strong white bread flour
9g dried yeast
30g butter, softened
Put the flour in a bowl and add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other.
Add the softened butter and the water and mix to a dough.
Turn out and knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough feels silky and smooth.
Put into an oiled bowl and cover. Leave for at least an hour and until at least doubled in size.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and repeatedly fold it in on itself so that the air is knocked out.
Form the dough into a smooth round shape and place on a floured baking tray. Cover with a tea towel.
Leave it for about an hour or until roughly doubled in size again.
Set the oven to 230ºC.
When the oven is hot, dust the loaf with some flour and slash it with a sharp knife.
Bake for around 30 minutes, until well browned on top and it sounds hollow when tapped on the base.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Enjoy the cracking sound as a job well done!