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An easy bread recipe for beginners and lazy bakers - Rustic handmade white loaf

A simple white loaf with the character and taste of a much more complex bread. 
From start to finish this bread takes up to 15-18 hours to make. But your contribution is only 10-15 minutes. The rest of the time the yeast is doing the work for you. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Proving time12 hrs
Total Time55 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: European
Keyword: bread, easy bread recipe, slow fermentation, traditional bread
Servings: 2 loaves
Author: movementandnutrition.co.uk

Ingredients

Starter fermentation

  • 500 g strong white flour
  • 500 ml warm water
  • 1/8 tsp dried yeast

Final dough

  • Starter fermentation
  • 500 g Strong white flour
  • 190 ml warm water
  • 1 level tsp dried yeast
  • 2 level tsp salt

Instructions

Starter fermentation

  • 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
    easy bread recipe preferment
  • Leave somewhere warm (around 20-25˚C) to prove for 12-16 hours (the warmer your proving spot the less time required)
    easy bread recipe ripe preferment

Final Dough

  • 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
    easy bread recipe shaggy 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.
    easy bread recipe bloomer mixed final dough
  • 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
    proved easy bread recipe
  • 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
    easy bread recipe bloomer ready on cloth
  • cover with cling film and leave to prove for 20-25 minutes
    easy bread recipe bloomer on cloth

Baking

  • 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.
    easy bread recipe bloomer tray
  • Scored your bread.
    easy bread recipe slashed bloomer
  • 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.
    cooling easy bread recipe

Notes