Soft white bread is such a popular type of bread and these batch breads are bang on trend. You will find them on the top shelf in UK supermarkets, sometimes labelled as farmhouse bread.
This recipe makes two large loaves that are perfect for sandwiches and thick chunks of butter. It's the perfect everyday bread, and it's easy and straightforward to make in a few hours.
How to make soft white bread video recipe
1100g White bread flour
50g Butter broken/diced into small chunks
Method for soft batch bread
Combine the ingredients
Add all the ingredients into a mixing bowl or dough mixer. Take a dough scraper (or your hand in a claw position) and using a clockwise motion combine the mixture into a dough mass. After about a minute the dough will start to come together, so turn it onto a workbench.
In a dough mixer:
Put all ingredients in the mixer that is fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix for 5 minutes at a slow speed, then increase the speed and mix for another 5 minutes. Skip to step 5.
Slowly knead the dough with a stretching action for 5 minutes. Then put the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover and place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and start kneading as hard as possible for 8 minutes. Return the dough into the mixing bowl.
Cover, and leave to rest on the worktop for one hour.
Stretch and fold
Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and stretch out one side and fold it over the opposite side of the dough. Turn 90 degrees and repeat the stretch and fold on all four sides.
Bulk ferment pt 2
Return the dough in the bowl, cover and bulk ferment for a further hour.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface. Use a metal dough scraper or palette knife to divide the dough into two equal sizes. Round into balls and put on a floured surface to bench rest for 20 minutes.
Line a large baking sheet with good quality baking paper. Shape the dough into a long shape and line the loaves next to each other length-ways on the tray.
Allow to proof for 2-3 hours. Lightly spritz or wipe the doughs with water if you notice them drying out every 30 minutes. Preheat the oven with a baking stone to 250C (480F).
Once doubled in size and nicely batched, lightly dust flour over the top. Score with one long cut through the centre of each loaf.
Slide the tray into the oven and drop the temperature to 230C (450F). Select the top and bottom heat setting on the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Remove and cool
Once our soft white breads are nicely golden on the surface, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Using dried yeast
If using instant yeast, divide the amount of fresh yeast used by 3 and follow the same method as fresh yeast.
Active dried yeast needs to be activated before use. In this case, warm 20 grams of water to 35C (95F) - no higher! Add the yeast with half a teaspoon of sugar, whisk and leave to stand for ten minutes before adding to the dough. Remove 20 grams of water from the recipe.
Top tips for soft white bread (batch bread)
Always preheat the oven with only bottom heat if your oven allows, this helps to get the stone thoroughly hot.
The batch breads should take around 20 minutes to bake. If they are taking longer than this to colour you should consider turning the broiler/grill on midway through the bake to develop the colour. This will keep the bread nice and moist.
Take temperature readings of the dough after it is mixed and before the final proof. Ideally the temperature should be 27-28C (80-83F), if it is not try to warm up the room or cool by using a fridge.