This very easy white bread recipe is my absolute favourite and the one I am always baking for my family. There are no extra ingredients and yet it tastes as if the very best master bakers have been involved. I love it’s sweetness, mellow yeasty flavour and slight chewiness. Even the crusts taste incredible. Have it as toast for breakfast the next day and it might be even better.
I love baking with yeast. It has actually become quite a passion especially the sweeter, stickier bakes and buns.
However it truly is hard to beat this classic White Loaf recipe. It tastes absolutely and amazingly delicious. Perfect for sandwiches or with just a generous slick of butter.
It has a sweet yeasty flavour coupled with a slightly chewy crumb that makes all literally swoon every time. The Brad Pitt of Bloomers. Big, buff and beautiful.
My children go potty for it too and I have to beat them off with a buttery stick as it sits cooling on the wire rack.
Not to mention the smell of it baking in my kitchen. I feel like a cross between Mary Berry and Mary Poppins. It fulfills me in areas I didn’t know I had. I can highly recommend it. Especially now HRT is difficult to get hold of….
Until a few years ago I was lost in the baking wilderness unable to bake a single loaf of edible bread. They always turned out a disaster and I was very close to throwing in the dough hook. And then I discovered some yeast that produced a rise every single time. I went from useless to master baker in a single yeast revelation.
I had been using yeast that required some coaxing into action and, try as I might, I couldn’t quite seem to. Then somehow I tried some Fast Action Dried Yeast and my bread making literally took off.
You just bung this stuff into the mixing bowl. It doesn’t need the right temperature or a 3 course meal before it starts to do it’s business.
A baking epiphany and one that I have never looked back from. So it is this kind of yeast that I wholeheartedly recommend that you use if you are coming to this recipe unsure of your baking with yeast capabilities.
This is also a recipe for a large loaf. I found I needed something a little larger than the standard bread recipes out there. I was adamant I wanted to have enough left over for toast the next day and such was the demand from my family that more or less the whole lot was disappearing by the end of the day. This recipe was the answer.
I do not add anything other than the standard ingredients. I see others may add a little honey here and a little oil there but I genuinely wouldn’t fiddle with the flavour that these simple ingredients below bring to the yeasty party.
- Strong White Flour – I use standard strong white flour. You could use gluten free white bread flour to make it a gluten-free loaf.
- Salt – I use standard fine salt
- Sugar – I use granulated or caster sugar
- Water – Tepid
- Yeast – Fast Action Dried Yeast- this is the easiest form of dried yeast to use.
- Add the bread flour to your large mixing bowl or free standing mixer. I then add the salt on one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other. I add the sugar anywhere!
- Give the dry ingredients a quick stir and then pour in your water. Mix until the dough comes together.
- If you are using a free standing mixer with dough hook then carry on mixing for about 5 minutes on a medium speed. If you are kneading the dough by hand then do so on your work surface for about 8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Use 1/2 tbsp of flavourless oil to coat your mixing bowl and the dough itself and then cover and leave somewhere warm to prove and double in size.
- I use cling film or a shower cap to cover my dough usually. If using clingfilm then I keep it and use for the second prove too. It will take roughly an hour.
- When doubled in size empty it out onto your work surface and knead for a minute to squash out the air.
- I then start to shape it into a fat cigar shape, pulling it tightly towards me and then tucking the corners in. See recipe card for a video clip.
- I put it in my 2lb loaf tin which is non stick. If yours isn’t then oil it first. I find that my dough still has some oil on the surface from the first prove anyway.
- Cover with oiled cling film or an oiled carrier bag etc. A shower cap probably won’t be big enough for the second prove. Leave somewhere warm to double again in size. It will usually take about 40 minutes this time.
- Slash the top in 3 diagonal slices or 1 horizontal slice with a sharp serrated knife the depth of 0.5 cm and bake in the oven at 200 C/400 F/Gas Mark 6 for about 40 minutes and golden brown. The bottom should sound hollow when tapped.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack. Try to resist the urge to slice it when it’s warm. The texture is better after it has cooled.
You can make this recipe as Bread Rolls too.
I divide the dough after the first prove into 8 (usually about 120 grams each) roll into tight balls and place on a flat baking tray a little apart in 2 rows of 4 covered in oiled clingfilm for the second prove. Again I leave until almost doubled in size.
I bake at 200 C/$00 F/Gas Mark 6 for about 15 minutes and sounding hollow when tapped on the bottom (that’s what she said).
Cool on a wire rack.
Can You Bake Bread With Fresh Yeast?
Absolutely. I have baked this bread using fresh yeast too. It is surprisingly simple and not much different to using the dried versions. I add 17 grams/0.6 ozs of fresh yeast to this recipe instead of the 7 gram packet of instant yeast. So it is roughly double the amount and a tiny bit more.
You need to pay special attention to the fact that the salt must not touch the yeast when you add them to the bowl but apart from that you simply proceed as the recipe instructs.
It does not require extra proving time or activating with water beforehand. Simply add it crumbled into your flour just as you do with instant yeast.
Can You Make The Dough The Night Before?
Yes, it actually improves the flavour. I put it covered in a large oiled bowl overnight in the fridge. Overnight it will rise and then I take it out about an hour and half before I want to start the second prove. I then knock it back and carry on as normal with shaping it and the second prove. Boom…
- Use Fast Action Yeast or Fresh Yeast for ease.
- Don’t skimp on the salt it really brings the flavour of the bread out.
- Find somewhere really warm for proving.
- Make sure your knife is sharp when scoring the top of the proven bread.
- Make sure you put the salt in the opposite side of the mixing bowl to the yeast
- Do not let the second prove overprove. This is when the bread dough puffs up too much and then deflates. If that happens start at the beginning again on the second prove. So empty it out, knock it back and then put it in the baking tin again to prove. It won’t matter a bit.
- Allow the bread to fully cool before eating.
- Keep leftovers wrapped in clingfilm and use up the next day. It is best eaten within 24 hours but used as toast it is still outstanding for 3-4 days.
- You can freeze when baked and completely cooled. Double wrap to freeze and thaw at room temperature unwrapped.
- Large mixing bowl or free standing mixer
- Wooden spoon or dough hook
- Wire Rack
- 2 lb loaf tin
- Oven thermometer (optional)
- Digital Scales
- tbsp/tsp measure
- Cling film or shower cap
- Sharp serrated knife
If you like this recipe then you may like these.
Easy White Bread Recipe
This Easy White Bread Recipe is a family favourite and a huge crowd pleaser. Simple ingredients come together to make sensational sandwiches and terrific toast.
- 600 grams strong white bread flour
- 7 grams fast action yeast
- 9 grams fine salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 375 mls water tepid/warm
- 1/2 tbsp flavourless oil
Add 600 grams of bread flour to your large mixing bowl or free standing mixer.
Tip in the 7 grams of yeast on one side of the bowl and your 9 grams of salt on the other. Add 1 tsp of sugar anywhere!
Mix the dry ingredients a little and then pour in 375 mls of tepid/warm water (not hot).
Keep mixing until the dough comes together.
If you are using a free standing mixer and a dough hook then keep mixing on a medium speed for 4-5 minutes.
If using your hands then tip out the dough onto your surface and knead for about 8 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Oil your bowl with ½ tbsp oil and turn the dough around in it too. Cover and place somewhere warm to double in size and puff up. This is the first prove and should take about an hour.
Once doubled in size then empty out onto the work surface and knead again for about a minute. This is called knocking back.
Begin to shape your dough into a fat cigar shape. This is done by rolling it gently and pulling the edges down and under so that the outside layer of the dough becomes tight. See video in recipe card.
Place in your oiled or non stick 2lb loaf tin, cover with oiled cling film and put somewhere warm for about 40 minutes until the dough has puffed up again. This is called the second prove.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6
When ready remove your cling film and using a sharp serrated knife score either 3 diagonal lines about 0.5 cm deep or one horizontal line across the top of the loaf.
Bake for about 40 minutes. The loaf will be brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped smartly.
Take out of the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Apply To Mother Of The Year's Face
Here is a link to help you shape your loaf from The Silver Fox himself…Paul Hollywood
Do let me know how you get on in the recipes below. I love a good old hairy chin wag.