This takes a little longer from start to finish than the easier loaf recipe I have posted before, but it is now the only one I make when the bread making urge (or necessity) comes over me. When I really get on a roll and am making two to three loaves a week this is fantastic as from the initial batch of dough you keep a little back to go into the next loaf you make, so a very easy form of sour dough if you like. The longer you do this type of recipe, popping the old dough into the new, cutting a little from the batch and keeping it safe in a bag until the next time(I have left it a week before now and the old dough is still good to use) the tastier your loaves will become.
My thanks to Rosa Jackson which is where I came across the recipe, I had another envy moment as she has met Dan Lepard, I would so love to have a chat with him! Her recipe is here.I always make this as one big loaf, slashed across to make a tiger style loaf. I think the more you score it the fuller the loaf becomes. I also use Dan’s method of kneading briefly every 15 minutes or so rather than one knead.
I forgot to turn my oven down a couple of times so tried baking this loaf at a slightly lower temperature for the whole time, it works very successfully(and I think even helps the crust), so have chosen that temperature for this.
Placing a casserole dish onto a lower shelf and then filling it with cold water when the oven is hot as you put the bread in will help immeasurably with the crust, it comes as close to the baker’s ovens as you can do at home. You will get a face full of steam, and the quicker you do this and get the door shut the better!
600g plain flour (or a mix of wholemeal and white 30:70)
1 level teaspoon salt
8g fresh yeast, or 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
400ml warm water
a little oil for the worktop and your hands, or a little extra flour for kneading
***If you are going to try incorporating old dough after this than your quantities are:
a little less than one level teaspoon salt
330ml warm water
8g fresh yeast / 1 tsp dried yeast
your reserved old yeast
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Mix the water and yeast in a jug until it has thoroughly dissolved, then add to the flour, and mix until well combined.
- Oil or flour your work surface (I alternate depending on mood, but more often choose flouring), and turn out your dough. Knead for about thirty seconds, (add the old dough if you are using and knead it in until well incorporated) and return to the bowl, covering with a towel or wrapping with a plastic bag.
- Knead another two times at fifteen(ish) minute intervals, for a minimum of thirty seconds, a maximum of a couple of minutes. If you want to bake regularly then take approximately 150g of dough, bag it up and pop it in the fridge. Leave a little space for growth in the bag!
- Leave to rise for about one and a half to two hours, until the dough has doubled in size and really soft and easy to press down, you shouldn’t feel much resistance.
- Turn out onto your work surface, and knead all the air out, then roll up your dough into a oval loaf shape, patting the edges under, and place onto a floured baking tray. With a very sharp non-serrated knife score the top of the loaf as many times as you would like, a cross is fine, I choose long scores across about one inch apart.
- Cover again, and leave to swell for about forty five minutes, and pre-heat your oven to gas mark 7, not forgetting to put a good sized dish in on a lower shelf to heat up too for the water.
- When the oven is hot and your bread has about halved again in size, get about a pint of cold water, open the door, pour into the dish quickly, get the bread onto the highest shelf and shut the door.
- Bake for about forty minutes, check half way through and turn if needed. When it is a beautiful golden brown, take out, place on a cooling rack, and try to let it cool, before slicing!