A simple loaf that went down a storm with everyone.
A homemade artisan bread recipe that’s ideal for the novice baker
One of my biggest regrets as a cook is that I didn’t learn to bake bread earlier in my career.
For too many years I believed making artisan bread was a complicated business. A dark art that demanded years of sweat and toil before even the most gifted apprentice was ready to fill his master’s breadmaking clogs.
The day our local artisan baker retired changed all that.
Our restaurant’s supply of good bread was cut off. The plastic industrial loaves weren’t any substitute. There was no alternative, I had to learn to bake bread to match the fresh, traditional cuisine the restaurant was known for.
And to my surprise, it wasn’t that difficult.
For over five years our kitchen baked bread for the restaurant and then for our Deli. This white bread recipe was our first daily bake. A simple loaf that went down a storm with everyone.
On the day it’s baked it’s amazing! And it’s great fresh for two or three days after. But toasted – Wow! Incredible.
It’s the bread recipe I wish I’d had when I was a young chef.
Its simplicity would have tempted me to try it. The amazing results would have instantly given confidence and joy to my baking. And it would have kicked off my breadmaking career many years sooner.
I do not claim to be a master baker. I’ll never win a prize for my beautifully platted loaves or the delicacy of my croissants.
But I can make a delicious loaf of bread – and so can you!
FYI Every technique used to make this loaf is explained in detail here.
Beginners Artisan White Bread Recipe
- 135 grams Strong white flour
- 95 ml water
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch dried yeast
- 1 pinch salt
- 400 grams strong white flour
- 280 ml warm water
- 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- Weigh the flour into a large bowl
- Make a well in the centre
- Sprinkle the salt around the outside edge of the flour avoiding the well in the centre
- Add the pinch of yeast into the well
- Stir with a cutlery knife slowly incorporating the flour into the water
- When the flour and water mix is too heavy for your knife, briefly work the dough with your fingers until it forms a ball
- Cover with cling film and leave overnight at room temperature
- Mix the dried yeast into the warm water
- Weigh the flour into a bowl with the salt and olive oil
- Add the pre-ferment in walnut sized pieces
- Pour in the water and yeast mix
- Use your fingers to blend the dough together
- Scrape the dough from the bowl onto your kitchen table
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to prove for 2 hours. Fold the dough once approximately midway through the prove
- Turn the dough onto your table and pre-shape it
- Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 5 minutes on the worktop
- Shape your dough into your desired loaf – round, bloomer or loaf tin
- Place on an oiled baking sheet or in your loaf tin
- Return to the warm place for final proving of ¾-1¼ hours
- Preheat your oven to 240˚C /465˚F with a heavy roasting tin on the bottom shelf
- 2 minutes before baking moisten your oven with ice cubes
- Score your loaf
- Put your loaf on the oven's middle shelf
- Pour a cup of boiling water into the roasting tray before you close the oven door. (Take care to protect your hands and face, steam can scald)
- After 15 minutes your loaf should have started to colour and reached its maximum volume. Carefully remove the roasting tray
- Don't fully close the oven door. Leave the oven door very slightly ajar for the rest of the baking time
- Bake for a further 25-30 minutes
- When ready remove your bread and cool on a wire rack
Hi, I’m Ralph
I’m an Associate Registered Nutritionist with over 25 years’ experience as a professional chef.
My passion is helping individuals gain control of their diet to achieve food freedom and health in today’s broken nutrition environment.
I’m based in Edinburgh and provide 1-2-1 online nutrition coaching and support across the U.K.