This is an essential, fundamental loaf of bread. It’s the type that you will want to make a sandwich with, or some toast in the morning. It’s humble and unintrusive. There are no seeds or flavours to clash with your soup or stew. It’s what’s needed to support everything from your favourite jam to tuna salad. It’s easy enough for a first time baker to make and it will make you feel warm, fuzzy and proud.
Your Daily Bread
- large mixing bowl and a cookie sheet
- 500 g all purpose flour (this is the equivalent to 4 cups)
- 350 g warm water (40C or 105F) (this is the equivalent of 1 1/2 cups)
- 8 g active dry yeast (this is the equivalent of one package or 2 1/4 tbsp)
- 12 g salt (this is the equivalent of 2 tsp)
- 1 tbsp skim milk powder
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- cornmeal for dusting
- Measure flour, salt, milk powder and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Stir to distribute the ingredients evenly.
- Pour warm water into the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon, then put some of the oil on your hands and mix with your hands. Make sure all of the flour has been moistened. Use the dough to wipe any dry flour from the sides of the bowl. The bowl should come quite clean and the dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Continue to oil your hands as you mix until almost all of the oil is gone.
- Once mixed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead well, for about 10 minutes, or until dough is very smooth and elastic. Add more oil to your hands if needed.
- Oil the ball of dough and place back in the bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Set in a warm, draft free place to proof for one hour, or until at least doubled in bulk. If the dough needs much more time, let it rise in the fridge overnight.
- Punch down the dough and shape it into a loaf by stretching it into and oblong and rolling it into a log shape, tucking in the ends.
- Sprinkle a baking sheet with cornmeal and let the loaf proof for a final time for 30 minutes, covered in plastic wrap.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Place a fireproof dish of water in the oven.
- With a sharp knife, make four diagonal slashes about 1/2 inch deep across the top of the loaf
- Brush the top and sides of the loaf with water and set on the middle rack of the oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Your loaf should be a beautiful golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Set on a rack to cool.