A Step By Step Guide To Making Your First Homemade Bread
4 - 5 hours
This white bread recipe is a perfect first recipe for any beginner bread baker. It is so good that despite it being a beginner recipe, I still use it frequently. I'll explain the steps that we take to make fantastic bread every time, so you can do too.
Don't worry if you don't quite master each technique straight away, it's a very forgiving recipe!
530g White bread flour
50g Warm water - 35C (95F) - to activate the yeast
310g Water (cool)
6g Dried active yeast
Make your first white bread video tutorial
Method by hand
Weigh the ingredients and activate the yeast
Weigh the ingredients and add the yeast to the warm water, whisk and allow to sit. Meanwhile add the salt to the cool water and whisk. Leave the yeast to bloom and the salt to dissolve for 10 minutes before moving on to step 2.
Incorporate the ingredients
Set a 5 minute timer. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and using a dough scraper, gently incorporate the ingredients until it forms one mass (about 1-2 minutes).
Slow knead the dough
Turn out on a table and gently stretch the dough till the timer goes off. The dough should have an even consistency and be fairly strong.
Allow the dough to rest
Next place the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a bag and leave it to rest for 5 minutes. If the dough is warm (above 23C), put in the fridge.
Fast knead the dough
Remove the dough from the fridge and turn out on the table. Set another timer for 5 minutes and start fast kneading the dough. This stage adds oxygen and develops the strength of the gluten in the dough.
When the timer ends, place the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave to rest. If the dough is warm and sticky (use a temperature probe (+25C or 77F) to be precise) use the fridge, otherwise it can be left on the kitchen counter. Leave for 45 minutes.
Stretch and fold
Remove the dough from the bowl and complete a stretch and fold. Just gently knead it for 30 seconds if you find this difficult.
Bulk fermentation continued
Return the dough straight back to the bowl, cover again and leave on a work surface for a further 45 minutes. The temperature of the dough now should be 25-28C (77- 83F). If it is much warmer, place the dough in the fridge for all (or part) of the bulk fermentation. If it's cooler, place in a warmer place.
Place the dough on the table and pre-shape into a boule shape, pushing out as much air from the dough as possible. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Take the dough, flatten it into a rectangle and roll into a cylinder that is the same length as the tin. Place the dough into the tin, cover loosly with a bag or large bowl and leave to proof.
Proof for 1 - 2 hours. Preheat the oven with a baking stone and a baking tray, just below to 250C (480F)
Cutting the bread
Once the edges of the dough reach the sides of the tin, dust some flour over it using a sieve for an even coat. Then using a bakers lame (or a serrated knife) cut one long cut along the length at a slight angle.
Place into the oven on top of the baking stone. Pour a cup of boiling water from a kettle to the tray below or spray inside the oven with a water mister for a couple of seconds. This creates steam in the oven which allows the bread to spring up in the oven and the crust to become crusty.
Lower the temperature to 230C (450F) and bake for 30-45 minutes, opening the door after 20-25 minutes to release the steam. Drop the temperature to 210C (410F) if the crust colours too quickly.
Testing if the bread is ready
After 30 minutes if the colour of the crust is nice and golden, remove from the oven. Using oven gloves, take the bread out of the oven and tip it out the tin. Give the bottom of the bread a tap with your finger. If it doesn't sound hollow, put the bread back on the baking for a few more minutes.
Once you are happy that your bread is baked and it is out the oven, leave it to cool on a cooling rack for 2 -3 hours before tucking in.
Top tips for the best white bread
Temperature control is really important in bread baking. If the room you are baking in is really warm, cool the water and use the fridge during bulk fermentation.
If using a old bread tin or one without a non stick coating lightly grease the tin with vegetable oil.
You can make this bread using a dough mixer. After the yeast has bloomed for 10 minutes add all the ingredients into a dough mixer and knead for 6 minutes on a slow speed before increasing the speed and kneading for another 4 minutes. Then continue to step 6.
Fresh yeast can be used instead of dried. In this case, add the amount of water used to activate the yeast to main water (360 grams) and introduce the yeast when the flour and water combine at step 2. Fresh yeast contains more water than dried so increase the amount used to 12 grams for this recipe.
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