A perfect everyday recipe for a simple white loaf, or ‘cob’. This loaf has a beautifully crisp crust with light, fluffy crumb on the inside.
Makes one loaf
400g strong bread flour
8g fast action yeast
30g unsalted butter, softened
In a bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, add the bread flour, salt, fast action yeast and unsalted butter. Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add the water, mixing until you have a nice soft dough. Knead the dough for 7-8 minutes, either by hand or using a stand mixer with a dough hook. If kneading by hand, allow a little longer, up to 10 minutes. Once the dough has become perfectly smooth and pliable, add a drop of olive oil to a clean bowl, and leave the dough to prove in the oiled bowl, somewhere warm, for a good hour or two.
One the dough has doubled in size, turn it out on to a floured surface, knead it gently to get rid of the air bubbles, folding the dough from the edges back into the centre to make the nice smooth cob shape.
Once you have formed the dough into a nice smooth ball, place it on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, and with cover it or place inside a plastic bag, and leave to prove for another hour or until it has again doubled in size.
Heat your oven to 200c, and if you have a steam function, set it to medium. While the oven is heating, prepare the risen dough for baking. You can either make a few slits across the top of the loaf, or leave the dough with a round smooth finish. Sprinkle with flour before baking.
If your oven doesn’t have a steamer function, add a tray half filled with water on a rack beneath the baking tray containing the dough. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the loaf has turned an even golden colour and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it on the base. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack.