Basic White Bread Recipe

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Basic White Bread Recipe

(This is the best basic white-bread recipe which is consistently good

and goes well with about any meal and makes excellent toast)

Ingredients:  Makes 1 pound, Oven: Preheat to 250C

1 teaspoon yeast (fresh if possible)

2 tablespoons sugar

250 g good quality strong bread flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

3 oz (85 g) low-fat milk

3 oz (85 g) warm water



In a big mixing bowl, rub the yeast into the bread flour using your fingertips as if making a crumble until it disappears into the flour.  Add the sugar, salt and then the water and milk.  Add the butter or margarine and hold the bowl one hand and mix the ingredients around with the other to use the rounded end of your scraper for 2-3 minutes until the dough starts to form.  With the help of your plastic scraper, lift the dough onto your work surface.  Even though the dough will feel quite soft and moist (and look like thick, sticky porridge), do not add any flour to the work surface.  It will come together without flour, simply working it, stretching and folding, to trap the as much air inside as possible.  If you continue adding flour at this stage, you will easily put another 100g into your dough which will firm it up and change its texture and then you are far more likely to end up with a 'tough' dough.  If you work the dough without adding more flour to the work surface, it allows you to keep the dough softer, so the finished bread is lighter and more airy.


The way to work the dough is to slide your fingers underneath it like a pair of forks, with your thumbs on top, swing it upwards and then slap it back down, away from you, onto your work surface (it will almost be too sticky to lift at this point).  Stretch the front of the dough towards you, then lift it back over itself in an arc (to trap the air), still stretching it towards and sideways and tucking it in around the edges.  Keep repeating this sequence and the dough will start to come together and feel alive and elastic in your hands.  At first this might seem to be too much to think about, but once you get the hang of it and the dough comes cleanly away from the work surface, begins to look silky and feels smooth, you will find that you can work the dough easily in one quick, seamless movement.  Now flour your work surface lightly, place dough on top and form it into a ball by folding each edge in turn into the center of the dough and pressing down well with your thumb, rotating the ball as you go.  Turn the  whole ball over and stretch and tuck the edges under.  Repeat this process a couple of times in order to make a 'tight ball'.


Next, flour the inside of a big mixing bowl and put the dough ball into it.  Cover with a tea towel and rest in a draught-free place for around an hour, until it is roughly double in volume.  Do not worry if this happens a bit quicker or takes a little longer time, as the dough will react slightly differently according to the temperature of your kitchen.  Once the dough has nearly doubled in  volume, turn it onto your work surface.  Flatten the dough with the heel of your hand.  Fold the other edge over into the center and press down again.  Fold over in half and then press down again firmly to seal the edges.  Turn over and place (seam-side-down) on a wooden peel or baking tray or in a greased loaf tin.


Nutrient Value Per Serving:

1234 calories

17 g total fat (8 g saturated fat)

36 g protein

227 g carbohydrates

36 mg  cholesterol

2184 mg sodium

4 g fiber

13% calories from fat


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