I don’t make white loaves much. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good crusty white as much as anyone else, but we tend to favour wholegrains in our family when it comes to everyday bread-eating.
Having said this, this bake has fast become a family favourite: slathered with artisanal butter, it is a joy to share around our table. Inhaling these aromas transports us back to our first trip to St Severin almost 2 decades ago when we first tasted this bread. Each mouthful reminds us of Cezanne’s blue skies, warm summer berries and lazy long meals.
Have you a food that transports you elsewhere?
Posting the recipe here in case you get bitten by the Breadmaking Bug. This is a good one to start with: no knead, no tin, no fuss.
Basic White Bread (Boule) Adapted from James Morton’s “Brilliant Bread”
- 500g strong white flour
- 10g salt (I cut down to 8g)
- 1 x 7g sachet of instant yeast
- 350g tepid water
- Weigh the flour into a large bowl. Rub in the salt on one side of the bowl, the yeast on the opposite side. Try to keep the salt & yeast apart as the salt can stop the yeast from working.
- Add tepid water to the flour mixture. Mix well until it becomes a coherent dough (I start with a spoon, then move to using my hands as the dough begins to bind). Use the ball of dough to mop up any flour sticking to the side of the bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel or cling wrap. Rest in a warm place for 30-40 minutes, or until noticeably increased in size.
- Wet fingers of one hand, slide fingers between bowl and dough, and fold dough in half. Turn the bowl a quarter turn and repeat the fold. Do this until you have removed the air from the dough and it is noticeably smooth. Cover your bowl again, and rest the dough for 60 minutes, or until at least doubled in size.
- Scrape the dough out on to a floured surface. Flour your hands and shape into a ball.
- Placed the shaped dough on to a heavily floured surface (like a chopping block or baking tray) to prove for the final 60 min, or until it has again doubled in size and springs back when pushed.
- Preheat your oven to 210 degrees Centigrade at least 20 minutes before your dough is ready to go in.
- Once your dough is ready, score it using a serrated knife (make a few shallow slashes). Bake on a low to middle shelf for at least 40 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.