2015-01-17 11:09:50The Little White Paw

Jamie's basic bread

Jamie’s bread

·  1 kgstrong bread flour               

·  625 ml tepid water

·  30 gfresh yeast, or 3 x 7g sachetsdried yeast

·  2 tablespoons sugar

·  1 level tablespoon fine sea salt

·  flour, for dusting


Step 1: making a well Pile the flour on to a clean surface andmake a large well in the centre. Pour half your water into the well, then addyour yeast, sugar and salt and stir with a fork.

Stage 2: getting it together Slowly, but confidently,bring in the flour from the inside of the well. (You don't want to break thewalls of the well, or the water will go everywhere.) Continue to bring theflour in to the centre until you get a stodgy, porridgey consistency – then addthe remaining water. Continue to mix until it's stodgy again, then you can bemore aggressive, bringing in all the flour, making the mix less sticky. Flouryour hands and pat and push the dough together with all the remaining flour.(Certain flours need a little more or less water, so feel free to adjust.)

Stage 3: kneading!This is where you get stuck in. With a bit ofelbow grease, simply push, fold, slap and roll the dough around, over and over,for 4 or 5 minutes until you have a silky and elastic dough.

Stage 4: first proveFlour the top of your dough. Put it in a bowl,cover with cling film, and allow it to prove for about half an hour untildoubled in size – ideally in a warm, moist, draught-free place. This willimprove the flavour and texture of your dough and it's always exciting to knowthat the old yeast has kicked into action.

Stage 5: secondprove, flavouring and shaping Oncethe dough has doubled in size, knock the air out for 30 seconds by bashing itand squashing it. You can now shape it or flavour it as required – folded, filled,tray-baked, whatever – and leave it to prove for a second time for 30 minutesto an hour until it has doubled in size once more. This is the most importantpart, as the second prove will give it the air that finally ends up beingcooked into your bread, giving you the really light, soft texture that we alllove in fresh bread. So remember – don't fiddle with it, just let it do itsthing.

Stage 6: cookingyour bread Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Very gently place your bread dough on toa flour-dusted baking tray and into the preheated oven. Don't slam the door oryou'll lose the air that you need. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked andgolden brown. You can tell if it's cooked by tapping its bottom – if it soundshollow it's done, if it doesn't then pop it back in for a little longer. Oncecooked, place on a rack and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes –fandabidozi. Feel free to freeze any leftover bread.