Crusty Bread

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe for bread, I hope you enjoy this return to dough. I like recipes to be super easy, I’m a busy woman and also a lazy baker. If a recipe is easy to follow I will make it, if it’s tricky then I’ll shy away. I think sometimes I underestimate my abilities when it comes to making things, like in life a certain amount of confidence is required.

Although there is some stretching and folding of the dough with this bread, it isn’t hard to do. It’s only a few minutes over the course of a a couple hours and definitely worth it. This bread is just so good, nice texture to the crust and yummy soft in the middle. This bread is perfect with cheese.

Recipe

600g strong white flour

3.5 teaspoons instant yeast (1.5 sachets)

2 teaspoons salt

350ml warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

Weigh out your flour and sprinkle over the olive oil.

Mix the yeast and salt into the warm water first. Then add this mix the flour and use your mixer with attached dough hooks to knead it all together.

When the dough starts to leaves the side of the bowl clean, Knead it by hand till it is smooth.

Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and allow it to rest for an hour, it will rise into a nice smooth ball.

After an hour flip the dough over onto a very lightly floured surface, and lightly press out.

Stretch and fold the dough into a ball shape and gave a quarter turn many times until you feel your dough resisting and becoming less elastic. Turn the ball over and tuck in all the edges to make the surface of the ball tight and smooth.

Cover with a clean tea towel and rest the dough to rest for 30 minutes approximately.

Flip the dough over and flatten it slightly, once again stretch and fold and give quarter turns until it is shaped into a ball again.

Allow the dough to rest for another 30 minutes.

if you have time repeat the stretching and folding and shaping one more time.

Finally allow the dough to rest again for at least 60 minutes. You will know when your dough is ready to bake when you press it gently with your finger and it slowly takes its shape back again.

If you wish sprinkle the top with flour or rice flour, it gives a nice floured appearance after its baked. Slash the top of your dough with a sharp knife or a lame.

Heat your oven to 220C, place a metal dish in the bottom of the oven and pour some hot water into it. About half a cup will probably do it. Place a pizza stone or baking tray in the oven too, you want it to super be hot.

Once your oven is hot and your water is steaming, carefully slide your shaped dough onto your baking tray or pizza stone. Quickly close the oven door as not to lose too much steam.

After ten minutes remove your steam dish.

Continue to bake your bread for a further 20-25 minutes, test for readiness by tapping the base of the bread. It’s ready if it sounds hollow when tapped.

Allow to cool fully on a wire rack before slicing. If you slice your bread while it’s too warm it will appear gummy where you cut. As tempting as it is you really must wait until the bread is cool.

This bread tastes and smells amazing.

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