Lockdown means that we are not venturing to the shops very often so I’m back baking bread again. Baking bread fulfils 2 roles for me right now, one it means we have something gorgeous to eat that fills the cottage with the heady scents of baking and two it brings a sense of achievement to days when I feel like I’m not able to do much else, but want to feel useful and competent at something, anything.
Bread is a staple of feeling like we are not going without. It’s such a valuable commodity in my kitchen, toasted and slathered with butter and sea salt, dunked into thrifty yet hearty soups and stews, turned into sandwiches, grilled with cheese or simply when I can’t face cooking, bread is an easy and filling go-to.
This is not a sourdough loaf, I killed my starter though abject neglect, they’re needy little buggers. Very easy to make though so I may get another one on the go in the coming weeks but right now I just want things that are easy, low maintenance and come without the threat of death.
Like all my recipes this is another lazy loaf, I let the Kitchenaid dough hook do all the work for me but if you don’t have a dough hook and mixer you can knead it yourself and get those arm muscles working.
Easy white loaf
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 1 x 7g sachet fast action died yeast
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 370ml warm water
- Put the water and yeast into your food mixer bowl, stir and leave for a minute or two, some people leave until it goes frothy but I find a couple of minutes work just fine.
- Add the flour and salt and stir well to mix using a spoon (I find this speeds up the mixing process).
- Using the bread hook attachment let the machine knead the dough for 10 minutes then put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave until doubled in size. It’s cold at the moment in the cottage so this took 2 hours but in the summer this would be much less.
- Gently tip the dough onto a floured surface then gentle fold in the edges to the centre and form it into a ball. Try not to knock all the air out. Put the dough seam side up into a well floured round proving basket (this will give the lovely flour rings on the loaf). Pop some floured cling film loosely over the bowl and then leave for about 45 minutes.
- Cut a circle of baking parchment that’s larger than the base of your casserole pot (I use the lid as a guide).
- Heat your oven to 230C and put a cast iron lidded casserole in to heat up for at least 20 minutes..
- When ready to bake your loaf remove the cling film and place the baking parchment over your proving basket then in one swift move tip and flip the dough out of the basket and onto the parchment.
- Remove the casserole pot from the oven, take the lid off and gently lower the dough into the pot. Slash the top however you fancy (I use a scalpel) and then get the lid back on and the pot into the oven.
- Bake for 25 minutes then remove the lid and bake for 15 more minutes.
- Admire your loaf as it cools and feel an enormous sense of glowing achievement.