White Yeast Bread

White Yeast Bread

A recipe by Charlotte Pike

Makes 1 large loaf

Ingredients

400g strong white bread flour plus a couple of handfuls extra for sprinkling

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fast action dried yeast

1 tsp caster sugar

300ml warm water

1 tbsp sunflower oil

Sunflower or poppy seeds to decorate (optional)

Method

Place the flour, salt, yeast and sugar into a bowl and mix well to combine all ingredients evenly. Add the warm water and bring together to form a sticky dough. Knead briefly for 5 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl and cover well with cling film. Leave in a warm spot for an hour or so until it has doubled in size.

When the dough has risen well, sprinkle a baking tray with flour and place the dough onto the tray. Shape into an oval or plait.  To make a plait, divide the dough into three evenly sized pieces. Roll them into even lengths. Lay out next to each other on a floured worksurface. Squeeze together at the top to join the plait strands together, and plait. Make sure the ends are firmly joined together at the end. Carefully lift to a floured baking tray. Take a large sheet of cling film and cover it all over with sunflower oil.

Cover the loaf with the oiled cling film (oiled side down in contact with the dough) and leave the dough to rise again in a warm place for another hour. 

Tip: make sure the cling film is not pulled too tight over the bread, as it will expand during this time. The oil will stop the cling film from sticking to the dough.

After the dough has risen again, remove the cling film and sprinkle the loaf with a little more flour. If you have made an oval loaf, take a sharp knife and cut three or four diagonal slashes across the top of the loaf. Sprinkle the loaf with seeds now, if you are using them. Place the loaf on the top shelf of the oven and bake the bread for around 30-40 minutes until golden brown and crusty.

Remove the loaf from the tin and tap on the bottom. It should sound hollow if it’s cooked. If not, return the loaf to the oven for a further 5 minutes and test again.

Enjoy whilst warm.

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