Soft and fluffy with the perfect rustic crust. This easy basic bread recipe is the best bread that will ever grace your kitchen. It's only 5 ingredients (all available from Aldi) and it only takes 60 minutes to make.
Imagine fresh bread straight from the oven broken open, steaming hot, and slathered with butter and dipped into soup or chilli. This is the homemade loaf of bread that will turn you into a bakeoff champ! So let's stop talking about how fluffy and crusty this loaf is and start talking about how you make your own 60-minute bread and start dunking!
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Ingredients for Making this Basic Bread Recipe
- Strong Flour
- Yeast (fast-acting)
- Sea Salt
- Warm Water
Making Bread Step By Step
- Start by adding all of the ingredients *except the water to a large bowl. Measure out the water in a jug and make sure that it is warm to the touch. Pour the water into the flour and use a wooden spoon to mix.
- You will end up with a rough shaggy looking dough like in the above photo on the right.
- Once you have poured in the water and you have a rough dough scoop it onto the worktop and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Or you can use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. A stand mixer is a "nice to have" when making bread. But it's not necessary to have.
- Once you have kneaded the dough it should spring back when poked and the dough should be smooth and springy. See the photo above on the left.
- Leave the dough in the bowl to rise for 45 minutes while you preheat the oven. Once the dough has risen, there should be an indentation left in it when poked. See above photo on the right.
- Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured surface and reform it into a round loaf shape. Place the loaf on a piece of baking paper. Using the corners of the paper lift the dough into a cast iron pan and cover. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes covered, then uncover for the last 10-15 minutes.
- Once you've baked the perfect loaf of rustic white bread, leave it to cool on a wire rack until cool enough to slice. Or tear it steaming hot and dunk into soup. It's your choice!
What kind of yeast should you use to make this basic bread recipe?
Fast-acting dried yeast is what this recipe uses. It is the one available from Aldi and it works perfectly every time. If you're not sure if your yeast is still active, you can add it to some warm water and if it starts to froth on the top after about 5 minutes, it's still active and ready to use.
Why does this recipe have honey?
Honey or sugar is sometimes an ingredient in bread as it helps to speed up the yeast. I always prefer to use honey but you can use some white sugar, or skip it altogether. It's not necessary, but if you are in a hurry, then it will help to speed up the rise of the yeast a little bit.
- 500g strong bread flour
- 10g active dried yeast
- 350ml warm water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Extra flour for dusting
- Place the bread flour in a large bowl and whisk in the yeast.
- Pour the warm water into a measuring jug and add the honey. Mix well.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour the water in. Using a wooden spoon, or your hands mix the water into the flour to create a dough.
- Flour the work top well and place the dough onto the work surface. Knead well for about 10 minutes until the dough springs back and is smooth and supple.
- Place the bread dough into a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. While the dough is rising preheat the oven to 200ºC and place an empty cast iron Dutch oven into the oven to get hot.
- Once the dough has risen and double in size, gently knock the air out of the dough and form it into a round ball with the seam on the bottom. Place the unbaked bread dough onto a large piece of baking paper and gently lift the paper into the hot cast iron pot. Cover and bake the bread for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes remove the lid and let bake for another 15 minutes. Until the bread is golden and the crust is crisp. Very carefully pick the edges of the paper up and lift the bread out of the pot. Slide the bread onto a cooling rack and discard the baking paper, or use it for more bread.
- The bottom of the bread should sound hollow when tapped.
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