Want great results every time? This is brown bread at its best.
Tasty, soft and light enough to seem professional but with enough texture to be decidedly home made, I bake this loaf several times a week.
I bake one for my neighbour at the same time, too, and I have it on (her) good authority that it's better than even the poshest supermarket bread.
It's good with just butter, great for scrummy sandwiches, makes mouthwatering buttered toast and works with cheese or jam: anything goes.
So, with that enormously overdone introduction out of the way, let's get to the actual recipe.
It's 30% wholemeal flour, which I find gives it a silky texture whilst not becoming too dry and heavy.
If you are tempted to increase the quantity of wholemeal flour, don't forget to adjust the amount of water too for the correct dough hydration.
Awesome Everyday Loaf
150g/5 oz/1 cup wholemeal flour
350g/12 oz/2 ⅓ cups strong plain flour
1 tsp instant dried yeast
2 tsp salt
315ml/11 fl oz/1 ⅓ cups water
1. Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and squidge them together with one hand. There may be a moment when it doesn't seem as though it's all going to go together but it will.
2. Tip the dough out onto a clean surface. There's no need to put any flour down, this dough is lovely and clean and very easy to work with. Knead the dough for ten minutes. Ok, if you haven't got ten minutes, one or two will do but try and stretch the dough as much as you can. Ideally, it should have a smooth, elastic consistency when you've finished.
3. Leave the dough to ferment for 45 minutes under the upturned mixing bowl. If you can't leave it that long, just leave it as long as you can. Equally, if you can't get back to it after 45 minutes, just revisit it when you are able to. It's quite forgiving. I once left mine for several hours and it was fine.
4. Give the dough a brief knead to degas it. Form the dough into a loaf shape and place it in a 2lb loaf tin. Leave it to prove in the tin for 45 minutes, or until it reaches the top of the tin.
5. Bake at 180oC/360F for 30 minutes or until nicely browned. A cooked loaf sounds hollow when you tap on its bottom.
Allow the loaf to cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before cutting into it.
Stored in an airtight container, it will keep for several days in a cool place.
You can find my easiest bread recipes here.
There are more detailed instructions, photographs and videos about breadmaking to improve your technique here.
I've written more about the science behind bread making to help you gain confidence and understand the keys to success here.
Fresh Bread In 20 Minutes
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