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Basic White Loaf

I work in percentages - this is the best way to start off as you can scale the recipe as you require and add and remove ingredients as required.  This recipe is for a 900g loaf (likely 800-850g once baked).  I measure everything in grams, including liquids.

White Flour (100%) 528g

Water (65%) 343g

Vegetable Oil (2%) 11g

Salt (2%) 11g

Yeast (1.5%) 8g


I normally use a Kenwood Chef (old style A701 type) with a dough hook, but you can knead by hand just allow double the time and make sure the dough is getting stretched nicely.  I find the dough hook to be best.

Add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl, keeping the salt away from the yeast if possible.  On the lowest mixer speed combine the ingredients and add all the water, ideally warm water.  Once fully combined and no dry flour is visible increase the mixer speed to a medium setting and knead for 5 minutes.  A timer is useful.

After 5 minutes the dough will have an obvious elasticity to it.  Scrape the dough hook off and with a scraper make sure all the dough is together in the bowl.  Cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and leave for an hour or until it's doubled in size.  In colder rooms this may take longer.  To test if it's properly proved get some flour on your fingers and gently but surely poke the dough - it should spring back slowly.  If the dough collapses it's over proofed, if it doesnt spring back it's not ready.

Once proofed remove from the mixing bowl onto a lightly floured surface.  It should come out fairly cleanly with a good plastic scraper.  Give it a very quick knead by hand and shape as required.  Cook for 10 mins at full power/ 250*C ish, then turn the oven down to 220*C ish and cook until nicely browned on the outside.  To test, remove from the oven and tap the bottom of the loaf - it should be fairly "hollow sounding".

I sometimes add some poppy seeds to the ingredients, I don't bother measuring them in you don't need much, maybe 2g-3g is plenty.

This is a very basic recipe that works for me for lunch rolls, loaves and baguettes.  For proper French baguettes use a lower protein T55 flour with no additives, increase the water percentage to 74-75% and do less kneading / more waiting, and watch some Youtube videos about shaping them, they are not as simple as you might think!

It has taken me many years to realise the value of percentages in baking, don't underestimate it.  You can adjust recipes to the way to bake and adjust the recipe to how you like.

Remember if you mess it up you have to eat your mistakes or make bread pudding!

I normally use Red Label SAF yeast but normal instant yeast works just as well.  Your water needs to be warm but not too warm, the same temperature that a slightly cold cup of tea is just bearable to drink without feeling like it needs to be chucked or microwaved.

This is the recipe our family lives on during the week for loaves and kids lunch rolls.

Added by: Tom Cross

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