These steps show how to make a basic loaf of bread. The dough is mixed and kneaded by hand but bread can also be made with an electric mixer, using the dough hook attachment.

Method

  1. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons dried yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over 150 ml (5 fl oz) warm water in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then set aside until the yeast sponges (foams).
  2. Sift 450 g (1 lb) white strong flour and teaspoons salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.
  3. Pour the yeast mixture into the well in the flour and add another 150 ml (5 fl oz) warm water. Use a wooden spoon to bring the ingredients together to form a sticky dough. (The moisture content of flour can vary greatly between brands, so add extra water or flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too dry or too sticky. Do not add too much flour because the dough will absorb more flour during kneading.)
  4. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, stretching it away from you with the heel of your hand, then turn the dough 45 degrees and draw it back into the centre. Repeat this process.
  5. The dough will now be smooth and a finger indent will pop out quickly. Place in an oiled bowl and brush the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a draught-free place to rise.
  6. The dough is ready when it has doubled in size. A finger indent will pop out slowly.
  7. Knock back the dough by punching it down gently. Turn out onto a floured surface. Knead out any air pockets for 3–4 minutes.
  8. Knead the dough into an oval shape, then roll it into a tight sausage shape.
  9. Put the dough, seam side down, in a lightly oiled tin. Leave to prove until the dough doubles in size. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/Gas 7).
  10. Bake the bread for 45 minutes, or until golden and it sounds hollow when tapped on the base.

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