Back to basic: our simple loaf of bread

Do you remember what bread tastes like? To be honest I didn’t, or maybe I never knew!
The most basic presence on our tables, yet the most satisfactory to bake at home. Bread has certainly become a luxury nowadays – or at least good bread. None of us have much time, but once you start, baking your own bread becomes an obsession, a ritual. The satisfaction you get from it is addictive and once you get the result you like, buying bread will seem a folly. Forget those slices in a bag and start having the real thing, it’s simpler than you think. We recommend you include it in your Sunday list of things to do, between loads of washing, or fit it into that quiet night you get to yourself, when you can knead in between the latest episodes of your favourite TV show.
250g strong white flour
250g wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 sachet of yeast or a teaspoon dissolved in part of the water you will use
3 tablespoons (but we prefer a generous dash) of extra virgin olive oil
300 ml warm water
your favourite variety of seeds, we like using pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds for finishing

Note: If you have never made bread before, we recommend you start by using white flour only. Start mixing different flours and adding seeds once you get the hang of kneading.
Just like you, we don’t have one of those huge wooden surfaces where TV chefs work their dough. But a large bowl will do just fine. Start by incorporating the flour(s), yeast, salt and sugar, give it a stir.
flourmix_breadmaking_homemade  extravirgin_oliveoil_breadmaking_dough_
Add the olive oil and the water to the mix, starting working the dough like you mean it. The mix will get stuck to your hands but don’t worry, simply rub them together to take the bits off and keep kneading. Once your dough starts being homogeneous, you can add the seeds.
dough_breadmaking_kneading seedmix_breadmaking_dough
Work it for at least ten minutes, and you should have an uniform, elastic and slightly humid dough. Let it rest for half an hour to prove.
Then work it again for at least ten minutes and let it rest again for half an hour. If you are using seeds to put on the top you can add them now, so you don’t have to move the bread too much after it has risen. Also, if you are using a mould, place your dough in it now and let it prove there.
second proving_breadmaking_dough_seeds  ready for the oven_breadmaking_dough
While your bread rests for the second time you can start warming up the oven at 180. Once your loaf has risen you can place it in the tray where you will be baking it (if you are not using a mould you can place a stone tray in the oven to give it that stone-baked texture). Make a shallow cut on the surface where you want it to open, put some lukewarm water on your hand and wet the surface very slightly. Put it in the oven for 45 minutes, et voilà your bread is ready!
baked bread_breadmaking_bread_loaf
A little trick to obtain a crusty edge: for the first 20 minutes or so of baking time, put a small tray in the oven, with water. Just remember not to leave it there till the end, or you would risk making the bread too moist.

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