Simple Easy White Bread Recipe

There is something to be said for the act of baking your own white bread recipe. Sure, in this day and age when there are artisan bakeries and loaves enough to supply all (or a Baker’s Delight product if you’re used to that supermarket flavour), why would anyone bother going through the time-consuming motions of baking a loaf of plain bread?

The only answer I can offer is that the bread tastes significantly different, having come from the fruit of your labours. The smell of the yeast, the warmth from the oven and then having the brown loaf cooling on your bench before you can slice off a thick piece, toast it, give it a few lashings of butter and consume it?

Basic Homemade White Bread Recipe

White Bread Recipe

There’s is an amazing sense of delight and accomplishment from this act, and enjoying your own white bread with a cup of tea is a lovely relaxing way to end the whole process 🙂 For all of my baking, I’m still relatively new to yeast and I’d never ever tried making my own loaf of bread till this fateful day.

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I don’t know what prompted it, but I woke up that morning and the air smelled…right. Something about that morning told me that it was finally time to attempt this hurdle, so I set off to the kitchen with ‘The Cook’s Book‘ in hand, mouth set in determination and anticipating the journey ahead.

Though the book recommends that you fresh yeast, I’ve no idea how to get a hold of the stuff so I had to adapt the recipe to dried instant yeast, but it still worked a treat and thrilled my family who consumed half the loaf the instant it left the oven. The crust is deliciously crunchy, the interior soft and fluffy, and the bread freezes quite well in case you and your family and quite as carb-hungry as me and mine 😉

Simple White Bread Recipe Ingredients

  • 5g dried instant yeast
  • 350g water at around 22 degrees C
  • 500g strong white flour, plus extra for shaping
  • 10g sea salt
  • Olive oil, for kneading

How to Make White Bread Recipe

1. Stir the yeast, 50g of water and 15g of flour together and leave for 10 minutes.

2. Ad the activated yeast to the remaining water, salt and flour and mix together to make a soft, sticky dough – make sure that everything is mixed together well and there are no lumps of unmixed flour. Cover this with a damp cloth and leave for 10 minutes to rest.

3. Lightly knead the dough:

To knead a yeast-risen bread, the book recommends using an oiled rather than a floured surface, and instead of a constant 10 minutes of kneading it recommends a series of brief kneads with rests in between.

  1. Take 1 tsp of oil (olive, corn or sunflower) and rub it onto your work surface in a large circle. Also rub about 2 tsp oil over the surface of the dough. Scrape the dough out onto the oiled surface.
  2. Before starting your knead, wash and dry the bowl, then rub the inside and your hands with a little oil. Set the bowl aside.
  3. Fold the dough in half towards you. It should be extremely soft and sticky at this stage.
  4. If you are right handed, use your left thumb to hold the fold in place whilst using the heel of your right hand to gently but firmly press down and away through the centre of the dough to seal the fold and stretch the dough.
  5. Lift and rotate the dough clockwise a quarter turn. Repeat the folding, pressing and rotating about 10-12 times, stopping before the dough starts to stick to the surface. Place the dough in the oiled bowl, seam side down, and cover with a cloth and leave for 10 minutes.
  6. Repeat previous step another 2 times, remembering to rub a little more oil over the dough after each 10 minute rest if it has become too sticky.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave for 30 minutes before giving the dough one final knead, then rest for a further 30 minutes before shaping.

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4. Oil and flour a deep 12cm x 19cm loaf tin, then cut the dough into 2 equal portions, round them up then tuck them in side by side into the tin. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise at room temperature (around 22 degrees C) for 1- 1.5 hours, or till the dough is almost double in height.

5. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Uncover the loaf, mist with water and dust lightly with flour. Place the tin on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then drop the heat to 190 degrees C and bake for a further 30 minutes or till the bread is done. To check whether the loaf is done, remove from the tin and sharply rap the bottom with your knuckles – it should feel lightish and make a hollow noise when rapped.

6. Once the loaf is done, remove from the oven and rest for a few minutes before taking it out of the tin and cooling on a wire rack. Once mostly cooled, slice yourself a piece, butter it up and enjoy!

There may seem to be quite a few steps, but all I’ve done is outline every step of the process so there is no guesswork required 🙂 This turns out a perfect loaf every time, and you may find that it begins to make a regular appearance in your home!

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