Whenever I go to farmers or food markets or to Waitrose, there’s no doubt that I’ll return with some AMAZING bread (I can’t say enough about the quality of the fresh bread in Waitrose, its fantastic). The kind of bread with a chewy, crackly, flavoursome crust that you just can’t stop slicing and eating with butter.
I never thought I’D be able to make that kind of bread – I’m not one for messing around with homemade starters or yeast cultures (not yet anyway!) until I came across this recipe on Yes I want cake (original recipe here). It promises all the amazingness of fancy schmancy bread with ZERO of the effort and no special ingredients. Just flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil. And time.
And I tried it.
And it works.
Yeah…… you should probably go make it right now.
Read the rest of the recipe first.
- 430g plain flour
- 150ml tepid water
- 1/4tsp of yeast (thats less than one packet…. I don’t know what to tell you)
- just under 1tbsp salt
- a splash of olive oil
Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and slowly add the water until the mixture comes together to form a dough. If its dry, add more water, too wet and you’ll need more flour.
Give it a little knead until its one cohesive ball and then put the dough into a second, oiled bowl. Cover tightly with clingfilm and leave at room temperature for 12 hours (It can be longer if you’re not ready to say, get out of bed after the 12 hours).
Thoroughly coat a cotton tea towel with flour or cornmeal (I used both) and nestle your dough inside and leave it somewhere warm to rise for another 1-2 hours or until it looks roughly doubled in size.
After 1 and a half hours of the doughs second rising, preheat your oven to a very hot gas mark 8 / 450 degrees farenheit / 250 degrees C and pop the container you’re going to cook your bread in into the oven. Per the original recipe, I used a ceramic casserole dish, but I didn’t have a lid so I used tin foil to cover the bread. I don’t think it would make any difference if you used a normal oven tray instead.
Once the oven and the tray/dish have been preheating for around 30 minutes, pop your bread into the pot, cover it with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. After that time, remove the tin foil and bake for another 15-30 minutes. When its ready it will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
That sounds kinda naughty.