The smell of fresh bread is one of my favourite smells in the whole world, I’m sure I’m not the only person to say that. I can’t walk past a bakery without looking longingly at the bread display and trying to convince myself that I need that loaf or baguette. It really is one of life’s simple pleasures. I don’t think I could live without it. Just for context, I’m typing this while eating slices of toasted tiger loaf which have been smothered in butter and strawberry jam! Apart from eating it, the second best thing about bread, is making it. Homemade bread is everything. There’s just something about working those few ingredients into a tasty treat that makes me happy. The kneading and working of the dough is a little like therapy, without the expense!
And then finally the smell of bread cooking in the oven and the way it permeates the rest of the house, it’s wonderful. It almost makes me giddy with happiness.
I make bread quite a lot but the only homemade bread recipe in existence on this blog is a Serrano Ham and Mozzarella Quick Bread from a past bake off blog along ages ago. What is puzzling to me is how much I love to make bread, and yet how little I’ve discussed it on here. Well that’s about to change as today I’m sharing my basic white loaf recipe.
Recipe for Homemade Bread
450g strong plain flour
1 1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vegetable oil
300ml tepid water
Sift the flour and yeast together in a large bowl. Mix in salt and add the oil and water. Mix together to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes or use a dough hook on a stand mixer. You want the dough to be smooth and elastic.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl and cover. Leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size. Alternatively: leave the dough in the fridge overnight.
Next lightly knead the dough before shaping into a loaf shape and placing on a floured baking tray. Leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.
Dust with flour and cut the top of the bread in a cross shape. Cook in a reheated oven (200C, 425F or Gas 7) for 40 minutes. Tap the bottom of the loaf to check it’s cooked – a cooked loaf will sound hollow.
Enjoy your freshly made homemade bread with lashings of butter and jam.
So there you have it. The simplest bread recipe there ever was. Go forth and enjoy some fresh baked goodness.