Making bread is very easy if you take some care. You only need yeast, flour, water and salt. The whole process takes about four hours, but the total amount of active work is only half an hour.
Apart from an oven, you will need the following items:
- A recipient to mix your dough. It should hold least 2 or 3 l, for example a plastic pot or stainless steel cooking pot. I can strongly recommend the Lekue Bread Maker, a silicone bread mould that can go straight into the oven.
- A spoon or fork for mixing.
- Optional: a baking tin to shape your loaf. I use the Lekue for this.
- Optional: kitchen scales. Mine is a very plain model from Salter.
For this loaf you need only four ingredients:
- 3.5 g dried yeast (half a sachet)
- 280 g water
- 400 g strong white wheat flour
- 4 g salt
The following ingredients are optional. I like to add some seeds, nuts and/or dried fruit.
- 25 g raisins or sultanas
- 25 g chopped walnuts
- a handful of sunflower seeds to put on top
The main difference between this recipe and the more common ones is the amount of water, which is considerably higher (most recipes say 200 ml for 400 g). As a result, the dough is not as easy to knead and much more sticky. This is why we use the “folding” technique as explained in the videos from Bake with Jack. Another great tip from that video is to sprinkle your hands with water instead of flour to stop the dough from sticking to them. With the extra water the dough rises a lot better, so the result is a more open texture.
- Add all ingredients to your mixing container
- Mix thoroughly
- Knead for about ten to fifteen minutes
- Leave to rise in a cold oven. I put a tray with hot water in the oven and let the dough rise there, so it keeps warm and wet.
- After half an hour, fold the dough 12 times. “Folding” means that you pull on the dough, which is very elastic, and fold the pulled flap over the main ball of dough. The Bake with Jack video shows very clearly how to do this.
- Leave for half an hour
- Fold 6 times; leave for half an hour
- Fold 6 times; leave for another half an hour
- Preheat the oven on 230 °C
- Fold another 6 times
- As you can see from the picure, I sprinkled some sunflower seeds on top.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 230 °C. I put a small container with very hot water on the baking tray to get some steam.
- Bake for another 30 minutes at 200 °C.
- Leave to cool on a rack.