Kneading is so therapeutic and it’s a kind of magic the way the dough rises. A warm loaf fresh out of the oven with a pat of melting butter is hard to beat.
So I thought I’d share with you my new fave white bread recipe, that turns out loaves or rolls that are soft with a crunchy crust. The bread itself can be used as a plain loaf, or if you have a bit of free time, you can make an 8-strand plaited loaf, kaiser rolls or basically any shape you fancy.
It’s a Paul Hollywood recipe that’s tried and tested- old blue eyes rarely gets it wrong.
I will give you fair warning though, the written instructions for the 8 strand plaited loaf are ridiculously hard to follow, so many numbers and over and unders. I just googled it and found a really brilliant YouTube video of a lady making an 8-strand loaf. If it wasn’t for her I’d still be in the kitchen tearing my hair out and muttering numbers under my breath. Once you get the hang of it you’ll really start to enjoy it!
– 500g/1lb 2oz strong bread flour
– 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
– 10g/¼oz salt
– 1½ tbsp oil (I used rapeseed)
– extra flour for dusting
– oil for greasing bowl (oil spray is really handy)
– 1 beaten egg
– pinch salt
-340ml/12 floz warm (not hot) water
1. Place flour in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast onto one side of the bowl and the salt onto the other side (so the salt doesn’t kill the yeast)
2. Add the olive oil and then most of the water and mix together by hand. Add the rest of the water to form a dough.
3. If using a dough hook then whack that on and knead until the dough starts to form a smooth ball. This took around 5 minutes when I did it with the dough hook. If you’re doing it by hand then knead on a lightly floured surface for at least 10 minutes (took me longer-noodle arms) until you form a smooth soft dough. Don’t be tempted to keep adding flour- it’s sticky for ages but it will eventually come together. Promise 😊
4. Pop in a greased bowl and cover- leaving to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
5. Tip out and if making the 8-strand loaf, weigh out the dough and divide into 8 equal sized pieces on lightly floured surface. Roll each of these pieces out to a 16 inch strand (confession, I guessed it) and join together at the top. Then watch this vid https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=RP6j7esQyjk&client=mv-vf-uk&safesearch=always. Scroll to the 8 strand section! Once you’ve plaited the loaf up, leave to rise for another hour, covered.
6. If you’re making rolls then weigh divide into even sized amounts (I made 15 but make fewer or more, depending on how big you want your rolls. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into strand and follow this video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tU9I1nYS60E&client=mv-vf-uk&safesearch=always. Then leave the rolls to rise, covered, for an hour.
7. For both the rolls and the loaf, use the beaten egg to egg wash the bread, and pop in a 200C oven for either 20-25 minutes for the loaf or 15-20 minutes for the rolls.