By request, here is my basic bread recipe that will create 1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves. With a much shorter preparation time than a sourdough loaf this can be made on a Saturday morning ready for brunch if you start early. You can make this recipe from any number of combinations of bread flour as long as it makes up 500g. The picture above was a combination of strong white bread flour, white spelt flour and semolina flour.
500g Strong Bread Flour
300ml luke warm water
10g Doves Farm Quick Yeast
Some Strong White Bread Flour for dusting
You can also add a ladle of sourdough starter if you have it to add flavour but this is not essential.
1. Place the flour in the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook (It is easier to knead this dough with a mixer as it is quite a wet dough). On one side of the bowl place the yeast and on the other side place the salt. Warm the water in a pyrex jug in a microwave for 30 seconds and then gradually pour into the bowl and mix for around 8 - 10 minutes until you have a smooth silky dough.
2. Transfer the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and the wrap the bowl in a tea towel and leave in a warm place (I find an oven with just the light on can work well) for the first rise.
3. When the dough has doubled in size, (how long this will take can vary depending on how warm the place you keep your dough is - but check in about 1 - 2 hours) place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
4. Knock back the dough by pressing the air out with the palm of your hand. Then take the edges and stretch outwards and fold back into the middle of the dough. Do this on all four sides until you have a seam in the middle. Then flip the dough over so it is seam side down. Shape the dough into the shape you want by cupping your hands and gently rotating the dough across your work surface while also slight tucking any loose dough underneath until the top surface is quite taut.
5. Dust a proving basket with flour and then place your dough into it seam side up. Cover the basket with clingfilm and wrap in a tea towel and leave in your warm place.
6. Remove your dough from the warm place after 1/2 hour. A dough that is ready for baking will spring back when lightly pressed. It should have increased in size by about a third, but don't worry too much about this. Preheat your oven to 250c or as high as it will go (when using a baking stone you must heat this with the oven to prevent the stone from cracking).
7. Take your baking stone out from the oven and place on a heatproof surface (I place mine on the pan supports of a gas hob). Tip your dough from the proving basket directly onto the hot baking stone being careful to not knock to much air out. Then slash the top of the dough with a sharp knife or a razor blade to help the loaf expand and prevent bursting in the oven.
Adding a glass of water to a tray at the bottom of the oven will give the bread good crust. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven to 200c and bake for a further 25 minutes.
8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.