Callam cooks: Crusty White Bread

They say the simple things in life are the best, never is the more true than with my recipe for a crusty white loaf of bread. Big chunks of it go great with a nice bowl of soup, or slice it thick and sandwich bacon and sausage between it. The best bit is the recipe is simple, and while it needs a couple of hours to be ready, you don’t need to be in the kitchen the whole time.

Ball of cooked bread

Here’s one I made earlier. Perfect for sandwiches

Ingredients

The following is enough to produce an 800g loaf:

  • 500g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 25g Unsalted Butter
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 320ml Warm water
Bread making ingredients

Ingredients for making bread

Recipe

  1. Sift the flour into your mixing bowl. If you have an electric mixer, use its bowl for this.

    Mixing bowl with flour.

    Weighing the flour into the mixing bowl. The mixer is visible in the background

  2. Add the sugar, salt, and yeast to the warm water, stir well until all of the yeast has dissolved.

    Wet mix

    The wet mix with sugar, salt, and yeast stirred in. The spoons should be level.

  3. Add the butter to the flour.

    Butter on top of flour

    Don’t worry about getting fancy with the butter, just add it to the bowl.

  4. Rub the flour into the butter until there is none left.

    Flour with butter

    When the butter is rubbed in, you shouldn’t be able to tell you’ve done it.

  5. Begin mixing in the water into the flour. If using an electric mixer, keep working until it all begins to pull together using dough hooks at a low speed.

    Bowl with part mixed dough ball

    After electric mixing. There will still be some loose dry ingredients

  6. Tip the bowl out onto your work surface. There will be a combination of wet dough, crumbs, and flour.

    Dough ball on worktop

    The part mixed dough. At this stage it may still be quite wet and sticky.

  7. Begin working the flour and crumbs into the dough. The technique of folding the dough in half, stretching it using your palm pushing it into the work surface, turning the now flattened ball 90 degrees and repeating is the best way I have found to knead bread dough. You should do this for 5 to 10 minutes.

    Ball of dough in the mixing bowl

    The dough after kneading should be soft and springy, but no longer sticky

  8. Return the dough ball to the mixing bowl and cover it with cling film. Leave the dough for 45 minutes to 1 hour in a warm place to rise.
  9. When the dough has risen to about twice it’s original size, empty it back onto the work surface. Knock it down by kneading it for 2-3 minutes.

    Ball of risen dough

    The dough once it has risen the first time.

  10. Shape the dough into the form you want your bread to come out as. This can be a ball, baguette, rolls, or in a loaf tin. The dough should be placed on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a wire baking tray. A pizza stone can be used if you prefer a softer crusted base.

    Moulded dough

    Moulded bread on the pizza slab ready for 2nd rise.

  11. Cover your dough with cling film and leave for 45 minutes to 1 hour to rise again. While this is happening, pre heat an oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
  12. When the dough has risen again, carefully remove the cling film, taking care not to knock the dough down.

    Risen dough ready for baking

    After the 2nd rise.

  13. Put the bread in the oven for 30-35 minutes, ensuring you leave room for it to rise further
  14. When done, the crust should be golden in colour and when tapped, should sound hollow. Allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes before  slicing it.

    Cooked bread

    Done. Now to eat it while it’s still warm!

Because there are no preservatives in the bread, once sliced it will begin to go hard within a few hours of cutting. The great thing about this is that it seals the rest of the bread, keeping it moist. When you want to eat a bit more, you slice the end off and the bread is good again. In this way, a loaf will last 2-3 days.

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