Hi, how are you liking my new site layout? This is my first recipe post : Crusty White Bread. Delicious and Homemade, since recovering my site from WordPress Help The WhiteScreen Of Death. It’s not completely ‘fixed’ yet – so I’m going through, remaking some of my earlier recipes and posting them, starting with Crusty White Bread.
This loaf of Crusty White Bread is for a small loaf (450g/1lb flour) baked in a 2lb loaf tin.
I just want to take a moment to talk about ingredients; as there are only 5 ingredients in this Crusty White Bread it really pays to use good quality flour. Shop brand, cheap bread flour WILL make a perfectly good loaf, however, if you want the BEST tasting loaf; organic, unbleached, strong bread flour will REALLY make a difference!
Yes this flour is more expensive (I buy in bulk online – it really helps bring down the cost), but when comparing the price of a homemade, organic, loaf of Crusty White Bread to a shop bought, plastic wrapped loaf, not only is the difference astoundingly smaller, but the quality of the homemade loaf is way, way better!!
Convinced yet?? Make one loaf of Crusty White Bread and try for yourself!
300ml Tepid Tap Water
1 Sachet/7g Active Dried Yeast
450g/1lb Strong White Bread Flour – I use Organic, unbleached.
3/4tsp Sea salt (1/2tsp free flowing)
25g/1oz Unsalted Butter – cubed
For ease I use a bread maker to mix, prove and knock back the dough.
You can also make the Crusty White Bread by hand, or use a stand mixer with a dough hook attached.
For the purpose of this and every other Bread recipe, the bowl is a large bowl/the bowl of the stand mixer/the removable container from a bread maker.
Pour 300ml of warm water into the bowl. Sprinkle over the yeast. Add the flour to the bowl. Next add the salt and butter.
Set your bread maker to mix and prove, press start, make a cup of tea!!
Set your stand mixer to slow mix, allow the dough hook to mix and knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film, place in a warm, draught free spot until doubled in size 1-2 hours.
*If making the bread by hand, rub the butter into the flour, sprinkle over the yeast/salt and mix through the flour using your hand, make a well in the middle of the flour and add most of the water (280ml). Bring all the ingredients together using your hand (in a claw like position). Mix thoroughly adding the rest of the water if the dough seems dry. Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured surface, using the heel of your hand push out the dough from the centre. Fold the dough back into the centre, rotate a quarter turn and repeat for 10-15 minutes until the dough feels, smooth, springy and elastic in your hands. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm draught free spot until doubled in size 1-2 hours.
Once doubled in size gently punch the dough in the oiled bowl (if using a bread maker, set to mix for 20 seconds – this will ‘knock back the dough and is the main method I use).
Turn the knocked back dough onto a lightly floured surface. Stretch the dough lengthways, then fold the ends into the middle. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and repeat the stretching/folding/rotating 3 more times – this technique builds structure into the loaf and my bread baking really improved once I’d adopted this small extra technique.
Place the dough into a buttered 2lb loaf tin. Cover with a clean tea towel, leave again to double in size, as before.
Preheat the oven to it’s hottest setting (250C in my oven). Place a deep tray, half filled with hot tap watering the bottom of the oven – this will create steam, helping build a crunchy crust.
Once the dough has doubled in size remove the towel and place the tin in the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 225C (or down 1 gas mark).
Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown (30 minutes for a thick crust). I then turn my loaf out directly onto the oven rack and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes, this allows the base and sides to get really crusty.
When baked remove from the oven and turn out of the tin immediately (if not already done). The base of the loaf should sound hollow when tapped with your knuckle. Leave to fully cool on a rack.
Inhale deeply, enjoy the smell of freshly homemade bread! No matter how many times I bake bread, the smell still warms my heart every time.
Ideally you should leave the loaf to cool completely, it will cut much better when cold. Who am I though to deny you warm bread, smothered in butter???
If you try to cut through the loaf, hot, straight from the oven, the inside will squish together and it will be almost impossible to spread butter on! Give the loaf at least 30 minutes to cool a bit before you start slicing.
Yummy Crusty White Bread!
Bread is the ultimate sharing food. Everyone sitting round the table having toast for breakfast, or dunking thick slices into warming soup. Even Jesus took bread and shared it with His disciples and when feeding the 5000. Wow what a feast that must have been?
Bake a loaf for someone – it will make them smile and feel loved?
Until next time remember Food Tastes Better When It’s Shared!