• 24 fluid ounces hand warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried fast rising yeast (Or, 1 oz fresh yeast, added to a little warm water with 1 teaspoon sugar.)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 3/4 lbs unbleached white bread flour (6 1/2 US Cups)
  • 1 Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl – the water should be tepid or hand warm – NOT too hot, as it will kill the yeast.
  • 2 Add the yeast to the water and then the salt, mix well.
  • 3 Add ALL the flour and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or a dough hook until all the ingredients are amalgamated – NO need to over knead.
  • 4 Leave the bread dough in the mixing bowl and cover loosely – I use a shower cap to cover my dough! (That is NOT used as a shower cap anymore, I hasten to add!).
  • 5 Allow to prove for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  • 6 The dough can now be stored in the fridge or you can use the dough to make a loaf of bread immediately.
  • 7 If baking a loaf of bread now, pre-heat the oven and place a baking sheet or pizza tray in there. Tear off a large ball, about the size of a small melon, and knead it for about 1 minute with floured hands and on a floured board, Shape it as desired (Rolls, Boule, Baguette or Bannette) or place it in a greased and floured loaf tin. Allow to prove and rise for a further 20 to 30 minutes. Slash the surface with a sharp serrated knife if you wish, see photos. You can add a glaze or special finish at this point.
  • 8 Bake at 225C/450F for 30 minutes or until well risen, brown and the loaf sounds hollow when it is tapped on the underside. (If you wish, you can add a bowl of boiling water as soon as you put the bread into the oven – this steams and bakes the loaf to give a good chewy texture and keeps the inside moist.).
  • 9 Remove the bread when baked and cool on a cooling rack. Serve warm with butter, cheese, jam, hams and cold cuts, or slice when cool for sandwiches. Also wonderful when toasted the next day.
  • 10 Store the excess dough in the mixing bowl, loosely covered, in the fridge or somewhere cool until needed – this will keep for 2 weeks, but I find it has all gone by 7 to 10 days! This amount of dough will make between 4 and 5 loaves of bread, depending on the shape and amount of dough you use.