This is an easy recipe for a classic crusty white loaf. The ingredients are for a single loaf, so you might want to double up and make a couple.
400g white flour - Shipton traditional white is ideal
(you can substitute up to 100g for wholemeal wheat or spelt or up to 75g for rye to vary this)
5g organic dried yeast or 10g fresh
10g salt (less if you like)
240g warm water
If using fresh yeast, cream it with some of the water before adding. Otherwise, mix all ingredients and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. This should not be sticky, so add a little flour if necessary.
[Tip: In winter it may be advisable to warm the flour beforehand. Simply place the measured flour on a tray in the oven for a few minutes.]
Place in a bowl inside a large plastic bag in a not-cold spot for 2 hours.
Break the dough down, knead for a minute or two and form into a round. Coat well (dredge) with flour and place in a well-floured banneton with any seams uppermost. Cover with a cotton cloth (teatowel) and put inside the big plastic bag.
After 45 minutes/1 hour this will be well risen. Turn out of the banneton onto a pre-heated baking sheet/stone in a 250C oven. Slash the surface with a sharp blade, quite deeply. A simple cross cut works well here, or a deep slightly off-side cut for the length of a long loaf. Turn the oven down to 220C.
This will bake in 25 minutes. If it isn’t crusty enough turn off the oven and leave the loaf in with the door open for 5 more minutes. Hopefully you have slashed deeply enough and the cuts will open to reveal a "milestone" loaf.
Variations to try
If you have the time, use a cloche/pot cover for the best result or any of the other crusty methods outlined in Focus on Bread - A Guide to a Better Crust.
This dough could be refrigerated for 24 hours after it is made to achieve great flavour, great crust and perhaps to fit your (too-busy!) schedule.
Added by: NaomiS
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