White Bread

Preparation info

  • Makes

    1

    large loaves
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

The Times Calendar Cookbook

By Katie Stewart

Published 1977

  • About

Persevere with home bread-making once you start. It may not turn out right the first time, but with experience you will get to know the right feel and texture of the dough at different stages. Then bread-making is easy and loaves turn out right every time.

Ingredients

  • 675 g/ lb strong plain flour
  • 15 g/½ oz (1 level tablespoon) salt
  • 15 g/½ oz lard or white cooking fat
  • 25 g/1 oz fresh yeast or 1 level tablespoon dried yeast and 1 level teaspoon castor sugar or honey
  • 4.25 dl/¾ pint warm water

    Method

    Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing basin and rub in the fat. Blend the fresh yeast in 3 dl (½ pint) of the warm water. If using dried yeast dissolve the sugar or honey in 3 dl (½ pint) of the water; it should be 43°C. (110°F.) or hand-hot. Sprinkle in the yeast and leave in a warm place until frothy – about 10 minutes.

    Stir the yeast liquid and the remaining warm water into the dry ingredients and mix to a rough dough in the basin. Turn the dough out on to a clean working surface. Knead and stretch the dough by folding towards you, then pushing down and away with the palm of the hand. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat the kneading. Continue for about 10 minutes. At first the dough will be sticky but as you work it will become very smooth.

    Replace the dough in the mixing basin and set the whole thing inside a large polythene bag. Leave the dough on the kitchen table until risen and doubled in size – about 1½ hours.

    Turn out the risen dough on to a floured surface and press all over with the knuckles to knock out air bubbles and flatten.

    For one large loaf, grease a 1 - kg (2 - lb) loaf tin. Stretch the dough into an oblong the same width as the tin. Fold into three and turn over so the seam is underneath. Smooth over the top, tuck in the ends and place in the greased tin.

    For two small loaves grease two 0.5 - kg (1 - lb) loaf tins. Divide the dough into two portions, shape each one as above and place in the tins.

    Place the shaped bread to rise again. Put the tins inside a lightly greased polythene bag and leave to rise until the dough comes to the tops of the tins and springs back when pressed with a floured finger. This takes about 30–45 minutes at room temperature.

    Set the loaves to bake in the centre of a hot oven (230°C., 450°F., Gas Mark 8) for 30–40 minutes according to size. The baked loaves shrink slightly from the sides of the tin and sound hollow when tapped underneath with the knuckles. For a crusty loaf turn out of the tin and replace in the oven for a further 5 minutes. For a soft crust rub the loaf all over with a buttered paper when hot from the oven.