If you have never baked a loaf of bread I would really recommend you give it a go. They're simple, cheap, and sooo tasty. You don't need a lot of things to make them in terms of ingredients or equipment. Once baked you can always cut the loaf up and freeze slices to make it last longer. In the recipe I've mentioned about using razor blades to make the slice on top. You do understandably have to be careful using these but they so make the cleanest of cuts when it comes to bread making. You can find packs of blades with all of the other men's shaving equipment either in a pharmacy or supermarket.
Makes 1 loaf
Hands-on Time 30 minutes
Proving Time +2 hours
Baking Time 30 minutes
450g Strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
2 1/2 tsp Fast-action yeast
1 tbsp Caster sugar
1 tsp Fine sea salt
40g Unsalted butter (softened)
100ml Full-fat milk
Oil for greasing (Flavourless e.g. sunflower or vegetable)
Large bowl or free-standing mixer with a dough hook
2lb Loaf tin
Razor blade or sharp knife
Add the flour to a large bowl.
Add the yeast to one side and the sugar, salt, and softened butter to the other.
Add the water and milk and combine using one hand.
Once you have made a dough tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until it‘s soft and smooth.
Clean the bowl and lightly grease with oil.
Add the dough to the bowl, cover with a tea towel, and leave to prove for a couple of hours until doubled in size.
Remove the tea towel and knock the air out of the dough.
Tip out onto a clean surface and press into a rectangle.
Fold the bottom third of the dough away from you followed by the top third of the dough towards you.
Pinch the end of the dough to make a seal.
Using the side of your hand make a trench along the middle of the dough, length-ways.
Fold the dough towards you and use your hands to tuck all of the edges under the bottom of it. You can use this as an opportunity to smooth the dough out on top by pulling the dough as you tuck it.
If the dough’s not very smooth on top still make another trench using your hand and fold and tuck again.
Once you’re happy with the dough pop it into the loaf tin and cover with a tea towel. Leave to double in size.
Preheat the oven to 210°C/190°C(Fan)/410°F/Gas mark 7.
Remove the tea towel when the loaf has proved.
Dust the top of the loaf with flour and using a razor blade or sharp knife cut along the centre of the loaf from one end to the other.
Pop the loaf into the oven onto a middle shelf for 30 minutes.
When the loaf has baked remove it from the oven and leave to sit in the tin for 15 minutes.
Carefully (you may need an oven glove) tip the loaf out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.