A slow fermenting and easy bread recipe – ideal for beginners and lazy bakers.
Traditional bread is a wonderful, simple food. Indigestible cereal starches transformed into the staff of life. And all it takes is gentle hands, unhurried fermentation and sudden, fierce heat.
Yet most of the bread sold in the UK is highly processed junk food. It’s made using a high-speed industrial process far removed from traditional bread baking. Ignore the marketing on the pack and read the ingredients label. How many do you recognise?
If you’re lucky you might have a local artisan baker making real bread. (Check for a real bread maker near you at https://www.sustainweb.org )
If not, the answer is to make your own. And it’s really not that hard.
If you’re lucky you might have a local artisan baker making real bread. (Check for a real bread maker near you at
https://www.sustainweb.org If not, the answer is to make your own. And it’s really not that hard.
You shouldn’t be intimidated by bread making.
At its simplest, good bread is the combination of five ingredients, flour, water, yeast, salt and time. And even then, salt is negotiable… but time is not.
From start to finish this easy bread recipe takes 15-18 hours to make. But don’t despair. Your contribution is
And this recipe is a simple one. No previous experience required. No special equipment needed. And hardly any kneading. Ideal if you’ve never baked a handmade loaf. Or if you’re a lazy baker like I am.
You could make this bread with a mixer. But I urge you to use your hands. It’s the best way to understand how your dough changes as it develops.
I’m a nutritionist and I’m recommending you make a white loaf?
We all know wholemeal bread is the healthy option. So, why am I suggesting you make a white loaf?
Because I want to encourage you to try making your own bread. And once you’ve tasted it, I know you’ll reject industrial bread for the junk it is.
White wheat flour is very forgiving and the easiest flour to work with. It’s almost impossible to make a bad loaf. The first couple of times you handle and work your dough you’ll learn so much. With a few successful white loaves under your belt, your confidence will skyrocket.
And you’ll want to turn your hand to other types of bread. Wholemeal, seeded, oatmeal or even rye. And when you do, your breads will be true health foods.
An easy bread recipe for beginners and lazy bakers – Rustic handmade white loaf
- 500 g strong white flour
- 500 ml warm water
- 1/8 tsp dried yeast
- Starter fermentation
- 500 g Strong white flour
- 190 ml warm water
- 1 level tsp dried yeast
- 2 level tsp salt
- Weigh the flour into a large bowl
- Sprinkle on the yeast
- Make a well in the centre
- Pour the warm water into the well
- Stir with a cutlery knife slowly incorporating the flour into the water
- When the two are mixed cover with cling film
- Leave somewhere warm (around 20-25˚C) to prove for 12-16 hours (the warmer your proving spot the less time required)
- Add only the flour and warm water to the starter fermentation
- Mix together with a cutlery knife
- Don’t over mix – you just want to bring the dough together in a shaggy loose mess
- Return to your proving spot for and leave for 30 minutes
- Sprinkle on the dried yeast and salt
- Mix together with your cutlery knife
- Scrape the dough from the bowl onto your kitchen table
- Knead the dough for 4-5 minutes – Don’t overwork the dough. You’re looking for some stretch in the dough. But your dough won’t be completely smooth.
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 30 minutes
- Fold the dough once, return it to the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 30 minutes
- Fold the dough for a second time, return it to the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove for 30 minutes
- Handle your dough gently. Turn it out onto your table
- Gently cut the dough in two
- either place each piece flour side up in a greased loaf tin
- or flour side down on a baking tray covered with a floured linen cloth
- cover with cling film and leave to prove for 20-25 minutes
- Preheat your oven to 230˚C /450˚F. In the bottom of the oven preheat a roasting tin
- 5 minutes before your bread goes in the oven cover the bottom of the roasting tray with boiling water from the kettle. (Be careful. This will create a lot of steam.)
- If your bread is on a floured cloth, carefully roll it onto a greased oven tray.
- Scored your bread.
- Put the bread into the oven. (Be careful of the steam as you open the door)
- When the bread starts to colour (around 5 minutes), remove the roasting tray and water.
- Don’t fully close the oven for 5 minutes. Leave a tiny gap to allow the remaining steam to escape.
- Shut the oven and bake until for a further 25-30minutes. Check your bread is cooked by tapping it on the bottom. If it’s ready it’ll make a hollow sound.
- Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Hi, I’m Ralph – a nutritionist with over 25 years’ experience as a professional chef. I’m based in Edinburgh where I provide one-to-one nutrition coaching. If you’re not in Edinburgh I can help you online.