Sunday, 11 December 2011

The 'Perfect' Loaf of White Bread

I hate when recipes say 'The Perfect....' How dare anyone be so presumptuous! No one recipe is 'perfect' to everyone's tastebuds. And I see the Good Food Channel have made a whole series of 'Perfect' recipes. Hrumph (read indignatious noise). The cheek! So I have put the 'perfect' in the title of this white loaf recipe in interveted commas because I think, in my humble opinion that this loaf is perfect. I always find that when I make white bread it tastes too yeasty with little other flavour. This loaf uses only a sachet of dried action yeast to 700g strong white flour so the yeast flavour doesn't come through so strong. The cooked dough is soft with a nicely browned crust. I sprinkled mine with poppy seeds, I like the contrast of the dark seeds and the crunchy texture.

From the Great British Bake Off Book
700g strong white flour
1 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet fast action yeast
about 450ml lukewarm water- the water must be lukewarm to activate the yeast.

1. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the lukewarm water. Mix the water and flour together to make a soft but not sticky dough. I use the dough hook on a food processor as I find the large quantity of flour difficult to fold into the water.
2. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured worktop and knead for ten minutes until smooth. Alternatively put on a low speed in the food processor for about 4 minutes and let the dough hook do all the work! Embracing modern technology is fun.
3. Gather the dough in a ball and transfer to a clean oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and allow to rise for about 2 hours. Don't rush the rising process or you will lose the flavour.
4. Punch the dough down, cut in two and roll into two round loaves. Place on non stick baking paper and cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for an hour. When rising time is oven, cut a cross in the top of the bread, brush with milk and sprinkle on seeds of choice.
5. Bake in a 230oC for 15 minutes. Place a small roasting dish full of cold water on the bottom of the oven. This will create a nice crust. Turn down the oven to 200oC and bake for another 15-20 minutes until hollow when tapped.

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