White Bread World

The Essential White Loaf (adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess)

This recipe started out as part of another post, when this blog was still an academic study of the sensory effect of wine. Those entries are now gone, but I’ve decided to post this bread recipe separately, as it was among the best loaves I’ve ever baked, right up there with Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread. It’s rather on the salty side, but I like it that way. You may, too.

  • 500g Strong white bread flour
  • 7g dry yeast or 15g fresh yeast (I only had 4.5 grams of dry yeast left, but it turned out fine)
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 300ml warm tap or potato water (the water from your just-boiled potatoes. I’d never heard of this technique before, but it does wonders)
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl and pour in the water, mixing thoroughly. I needed a bit more than 300ml, and you may too. Add the butter and mix some more before kneading. My dough was on the dry side, so kneading was hard work. If you can get into a little bit of a meditative state, though, kneading is fun work and really makes a difference in the final product.

Form the dough into a ball and put it in a buttered bowl, turning the ball until it’s fully greased. You can then put it in the fridge and let it rise slowly overnight, but this method doesn’t always work for me, so I’d suggest just putting it in an 80- degree (farenheit) oven for a couple of hours, or until it has doubled.

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees celsius (428 farenheit), punch down your puffy, squishy dough and knead for a minute. Then form it into a loaf and put it on your baking sheet with a tea towel on top, letting it rest for around 30 minutes until it’s very puffy. After that, dust your loaf with flour and bake it for 35 minutes or so until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If you can resist, let it cool for a bit before slicing.


2 Comments on “White Bread World”

  1. lovely! Now I’ve learned something today, potato water… will try it next time.

  2. Oh bread has to be a little salty, it bring all the flavour out. Really good recipe and a great looking loaf!

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