This is Beverley’s basic white bread recipe, this will form the basis of a great loaf, pitta bread, pizza base, flatbread, fougasse, breadsticks and lots more.
Ingredients: for 1 loaf
500g strong flour
10g fresh yeast (or 1 packet of dried)
1.5 tsp salt
350ml water – luke warm
4-5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Add all the ingredients together except the olive oil and mix with a dough scraper or wooden spoon to form a dough. Pour a tablespoonful of olive oil onto a clean surface the use the scraper to tip out the dough in one lump onto the oil.
- Work the dough by stretching and pulling and folding it to trap in as much air as possible, if ti starts getting sticky pour a little more olive oil onto your fingers and keep working the dough. NEVER add more flour. You will get very sticky fingers but as you work it it will become less sticky, more elastic and beautifully smooth, should take no longer than 5 minutes. Or use a mixer, however, it is easier to do this by hand.
- Wash the bowl out and wipe round a little oil then put the dough back into the bowl. Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour – no more, no less, 1 hour, covered with a damp tea towel in a warm place. The microwave will do, don’t use the top of the AGA or the airing cupboards, one is too hot the other is too dry, next to the AGA is fine, make sure the tea towel doesn’t dry out.
- After the hour the dough should be around double it’s size, you need to keep this precious air inside the dough so don’t do as you may have been taught in school and ‘knock back’ the dough, but gently lift it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface (yes I know, this time I’m allowing you to add a little four) and gently fold the outside edges of the dough into the middle, moulding it into the shape you would like it to be.
- Once it’s been moulded then it needs proving to develop the flavour, cover the dough with a damp tea towel and leave it for 45-60 minutes until it’s just under double it’s size, don’t let it get any bigger
- Preheat the oven to 220oc/gas 8 and put a flat baking tray on the bottom of the oven.
- Bake your bread, either as a loaf for around 30-40 minutes until dark golden brown and when you tap underneath it sounds ‘hollow’, or follow one of the other recipes.