Big Crusty Bread

I am making tray bakes and goodies to eat for our coffee morning on Saturday. It’s going to be a fun morning because we’ve invited almost everyone we know, plus you get the passing people who see the sandwich board sign out the front as well as the congregation members from our church. It’s especially nice for me because due to a little surgery I’ll be having on Sunday I will be resting up for a short while and not be able to do this sort of thing.

I’ve several new recipes to try so please keep an eye out for them on my page over the next few days.

Meanwhile, my family need feeding! They need bread for their lunch so I made a big crusty loaf that they can eat away at while the kitchen is otherwise in use. You can get an idea of the size of the loaf when you compare it with my bread knife, it’s a monster loaf. I’ve plenty basic bread recipe on my page, this is probably a similar recipe to a previous loaf I have made. It’s just too good not to repeat, once you’ve made and eaten this bread you would be considering not buying a supermarket loaf again.

Ingredients

600g (21.1oz) strong white flour

350ml (12.3oz) slightly warm water

2.5 tablespoons dried milk powder

3 teaspoons dried yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon caster sugar

100g (3.5oz) unfed sourdough starter or 50g (1.8oz) fed starter (totally optional)

Method

Bloom the yeast by mixing the yeast and sugar in with the water.

While the yeast is blooming mix all the other ingredients in a large bowl.

Add in your starter if you are using it. Your starter is totally optional, if you don’t know what starter is please do not worry – just skip this step.

Mix everything together and when the yeast water mix has some foamy froth on the top mix that in too.

Using your dough hooks or by hand mix the dough until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

The dough will be fairly elastic, knead the dough until it is elastic and smooth.

The dough is ready to be placed back in the bowl to rest for around 45 minutes.

It will rise.

Tip your dough out onto a lightly floured board and knock the air out of the dough.

Shape your dough onto a round boule, creating surface tension by tucking in around the base.

Leave your dough to rise on a non stick parchment. I use a Teflon-like sheet.

After about an hour your dough will have risen considerably. Test it by gently pressing with your finger, if it slowly takes its shape again it’s ready to bake.

Heat your oven to 240C (460F) with your baking sheet or pizza stone in it.

Place a heat proof dish in the shelf below and add some hot water. The dish will steam.

Once the oven is hot, carefully slide the bread onto the hot baking sheet/pizza stone.

Bake for 15 minutes at 240C. After 15 minutes remove the steam plate from the bottom of the oven. Turn the oven down to 200C (395F) and bake for a further 15 minutes approximately.

Your bread will be ready when it sounds hollow if you tap it on the bottom.

Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

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