Which brings me to the recipe I am sharing with you today for a sinfully good White Rustic Loaf. The crust is golden brown, crispy and somewhat chewy. The inside is like biting into a cloud. Serve warm with a pad of butter and some top-notch jam and you will grin from ear to ear. And trust me, you will come back to this recipe time and time again. Seriously, it is that good.
This recipe comes from all away across the pond - England. As many of you know, I am a huge fan of British baking. I cannot get enough of it. I collect British cookbooks, surf the web for Brit baking...anything I can get my hands on is filed away for later use. There is one cookbook in particular that I absolutely adore titled The Great British Bake Off - How to Bake The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets. It is the end-result of Season 2 of The Great British Bake-Off, a UK-based TV show that pits baker against baker. Though I have yet to see an episode as we don't get it here in Canada, I am addicted to the cookbooks.
I have made several recipes from this book but the most recent one is the one I am sharing with you today. Not being the most skilled in bread-making, I am still in shock over how incredible this bread is and with such little effort too! You must give it a try.
Scored and ready for the oven
*slightly adapted source recipe The Perfect White Loaf, The Great British Bake-Off - How to Bake...
WHAT YOU NEED
700 grams white bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast (aka quick-rise here in Canada)
450 ml lukewarm water
LINE a large cookie sheet with parchment paper
IN BOWL OF STAND MIXER, fitted with dough hook, stir together first 3 ingredients
MAKE a well in center of flour mixture and pour in water
STIR with dough hook on lowest speed for 6 minutes.
REMOVE dough hook and cover bowl with a dry tea towel
LET rest at room temperature for 2 hours
PUNCH down dough
ATTACH dough hook and knead on lowest speed for 1 minute
TURN out dough onto lightly floured surface and divide into 2 even pieces
ROLL each piece gently into a ball using a cupped hand. You want a smooth and neat finish
PLACE loaves onto prepared cookie sheet leaving at least 6-7 inches space between each loaf as they will spread when rising
SPRINKLE tops with flour
COVER with tea towel and let rise for 1 hr or until doubled in size
WHEN rise time is almost complete, preheat oven to 450F
PLACE a pan in the lowest rack of the oven. You will add water to this shortly
SCORE an X in top of each loaf with a sharp knife
SPRINKLE with a light dusting of flour
PLACE bread loaves, still on prepared cookie sheet, into oven
POUR 1 cup of hot water into the pan you placed on the lowest rack of the oven. This will create a burst of steam that will help get that crispy crust we all adore.
IMMEDIATELY close oven door
BAKE for 15 minutes
REDUCE oven temperature to 400F
ROTATE the cookie sheet if needed so loaves brown evenly
BAKE for another 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and loaves have a hollow sound when tapped underneath
REMOVE from oven and transfer loaves to a cooling rack
LET cool to almost room temperature before slicing with a serrated bread knife.