On Sunday morning I decided to have a bit of a cooking morning. I made a loaf of bread, the recipe I’m going to be detailing here, two different soups (for freezing, for lunch at work) and some Scotch Eggs. I was going to make some cheese scones too but I ran out of energy and time. Especially as I was cooking a full roast for us in the evening too.
This recipe comes from the lovely Gino D’Acampo Italian Home Baking cook book that I’ve recommended before. It’s a lovely loaf with a crusty exterior when fresh baked and a soft, tasty interior. It’s a cottage-style loaf, which, unfortunately is a little too large to store in my baking tin so I was just forced to eat some of it, hot from the oven and buttery! (And I reduced the amounts from the recipe slightly as I was worried that it’d be too big.) It’s an easy loaf to make and very tasty.
680g of strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon of salt
10g of dried yeast
400ml of warm water
Olive oil for brushing
Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and gradually pour in the water, mixing to form a firm dough. (I also added a tablespoon of olive oil at this stage too, to improve the texture.)
Pop the dough on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Brush the inside of a bowl with olive oil and pop the dough inside. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise, in a warm place away from draughts for 1 hour.
Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured surface, punch down and knead for 3 minutes. Then divide into two pieces, ⅓ and ⅔s.
Make each piece into a ball and place on an oiled baking tray. Brush the tops with a little oil. Cover with clingfilm and leave for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220
Lightly flatten the top of the larger ball and cut a cross, 4cms across, in the top. Brush with a little water and place the smaller ball on top.
Press a hole down through the centre of the top ball into the lower one. (I completely forgot to do this – it doesn’t make too much difference but it did mean that the loaf rose so much it got stuck against the roof of the oven and I had to get my friend Ewan to help me free it. (He had come over for coffee – I didn’t call him in specially!))
Brush with a little olive oil and rest, covered, for 5 minutes.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the loaf is golden all over.
Delicious. It’ll keep for 3-4 days and even after that is tasty toasted!