Makes 2 bread loaves
20g fresh yeast (or 10g dried yeast)
425ml tepid water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp salt
675g strong white flour
Sesame seeds (or poppy seeds) for topping - optional
Preheat oven to 220°C
Equipment: Large Wide Bowl, baking tray, pastry brush
- Sponge the yeast in 250ml/5 fl oz of tepid water, leave in a warm place for about five minutes.
- In a large wide mixing bowl sieve the flour, salt and sugar. (Alternatively, you can do this directly on the worktop).
- Make a well in the centre and mix in the oil and pour in the sponged yeast and most of the remaining lukewarm water.
- Mix to a loose dough adding the remaining liquid or a little extra flour if needed.
- Turn the dough out onto the work surface and then knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and shiny, springy and elastic (if kneading in a food mixer with a dough hook, 5 minutes is usually long enough).
- Put the dough in a large bowl. Cover the top with cling film, leaving enough room for dough to double in size (yeast dough rises best in a warm moist atmosphere).
- When the dough has more than doubled in size, 1½ - 2 hours, knock back by punching the air out of it. Divide by weight into the amounts needed for shaping.
- Round up and allow to proof (intermediate proof) for 10 minutes.
- Shape the bread into loaves, plaits, or rolls as desired.
- Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment and cover with a light tea towel if you are not going to egg wash.
- Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds (optional). Or dust lightly with flour for a rustic looking loaf.
- Allow to prove (rise again) in a warm place, until the shaped dough has again doubled in size.
- The bread is ready for baking when a small dent remains when the dough is pressed lightly with the finger.
- Bake in a preheated hot oven, 220°C for 25 - 35 minutes depending on size.
- The bread should sound hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a wire rack.
To make a plait - Take half the quantity of white yeast dough after it has been 'knocked back', divide into three equal pieces. With both hands roll each one into a rope, thickness depends on how fat you want the plait. Then pinch the three ends together at the top, bring each outside strand into the centre alternatively to form a plait, pinch the ends and tuck in neatly. Transfer onto a baking tray. Allow to double in size. Egg wash or dredge with flour.
If you really want to bake bread, why not join one of our bread school classes Bread baking classes