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.
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.
If you’re unsure of any of the breadmaking techniques in this recipe there are step by step instructions in this article.
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 240˚C /465˚F. In the bottom of the oven preheat a heavy roasting tin
- 5 minutes before your bread goes in the oven moisten your oven with ice cubes
- If your bread is on a floured cloth, carefully roll it onto a greased oven tray.
- Scored your bread.
- Put the bread on the middle shelf of your oven. (Be careful of the steam as you open the door)
- Before closing the oven door, pour a cup of boiling water into the roasting tray(Be careful. This will create a lot of steam. Protect your hands and face from scalding.)
- 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 for the rest of the bake. Leave it open a tiny crack to lat the remaining steam and moisture escape.
- Bake until for a further 25-30minutes.
- Remove and allow to 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.