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 3-4 hours.
What you need to make batch bread
To make batch bread that’s soft and delicious, you’ll need the following equipment:
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- A durable baking sheet
- Mixing bowls
- A metal and plastic dough scraper
- A lid or some plastic wrap (something to cover the bowl)
- Scales, if you don’t a decent set you might want to try these scales from Myweigh
- A baking stone
Using a thermometer will help you with controlling proofing times. For accurate dough temperature readings try this thermometer from Gdealer
What if I don’t have a baking stone?
A baking stone conducts heat into the loaf. Using one increases the height of the oven spring and helps to give an even bake on the base of the loaf. If you don’t have a baking stone, preheat the thickest baking sheet that you have.
Can I use a dutch oven to make this recipe?
I’ve not tried this recipe with a Dutch oven, but it should work providing it is big enough to fit two loaves in. If you are looking to get a dutch oven, I recommend this one from Challenger. You shouldn’t need a baking stone either.
- 1100g White bread flour
- 710g Water
- 22g Fresh yeast (7g active dried)
- 20g Salt
- 50g Butter broken/diced into small chunks
Can I use active dried yeast or instant yeast to make this recipe?
Yes! 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.
Changing the size of the recipe
This recipe makes 2 medium sized batch loaves. If you want to change the size of the recipe, use the bakers formula.
How to make soft batch bread
1) Prepare the ingredients
Weigh the ingredients, if using dried yeast, bloom it here.
2) 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.
3) Slow knead
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.
4) Fast knead
Remove from the fridge and start kneading as hard as possible for 8 minutes. Return the dough into the mixing bowl.
5) Bulk fermentation
Cover, and leave to rest on the worktop for one hour.
Take temperature readings of the dough after it has 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.
6) 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.
7) 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.
9) Final shape
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.
10) Final rise
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).
Always preheat the oven with only bottom heat if your oven allows, this helps to get the stone thoroughly hot.
Once doubled in size and nicely batched, lightly dust flour over the top. Score with one long cut through the centre of each loaf, and slide the tray into the oven.
Drop the temperature to 230C (450F) and put the top and bottom heat setting on if you can.
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.
13) Remove and cool
Once our soft white breads are nicely golden on the surface, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
How to make soft white bread video recipe
Nutritional information per loaf
Calories: 2214kcal | Carbohydrates: 424g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 27mg