Classic white loaf

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins , plus rising and proving


16 slices
Once you've mastered this basic loaf, the bread-making world's your oyster

Nutrition and extra info

  • Can be frozen for one month
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Dairy-free
  • Nut-free
  • Egg-free

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal111
  • fat1g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs24g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre0g
  • protein4g
  • salt0.31g
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  • 500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting



    Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

  • 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • up to 350ml lukewarm water
  • a little sunflower oil, for greasing
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…


  1. Make the dough by tipping the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl and making a well in the middle. Pour in most of the water and use your fingers or a wooden spoon to mix the flour and water together until combined to a slightly wet, pillowy, workable dough - add a splash more water if necessary. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 10 mins until smooth and elastic. This can also be done in a tabletop mixer with a dough hook. Place the dough in a clean oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size.

  2. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Knock back the dough by tipping it back onto a floured surface and pushing the air out. Mould the dough into a rugby ball shape that will fit a 900g loaf tin and place in the tin. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to prove for 30 mins. Dust the top of the loaf with a little more flour and slash the top with a sharp knife if you want. Bake the bread for 15 mins, then reduce the heat to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and continue to bake for 30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when removed from the tin and tapped on the base. Leave the bread on a wire rack to cool completely. The loaf will stay fresh in an airtight container for 3 days or can be frozen for 1 month.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (55)

amandap41's picture

Very easy turns out perfectly every time

weez1959's picture

fabulous!! Threw everything in my bread machine, shaped into 10 buns!! Couldn't be easier :)

Pixietigerlily's picture

I had never made bread before, as long as you follow the simple instructions it's really easy to follow. Five stars!

snapperjack25's picture

please people you must put the salt in as this stops the proved dough from collapsing when it's in the oven....i've been a baker for 30yrs and still at it.

jaxxtrueblue's picture

This was my 1st attempt at making bread, receipe was easy to follow and dough doubled in size after proofing. Loaf looked great once it came out the oven and sounded hollow when tapped on the bottom. Once sliced though it was very dense and heavy not quite sure what I done wrong.

Gregorio's picture

Without knowing the specifics it's hard to be sure, but there are two likely possibilities

1) You left the bread to rise for too long and the yeast exhausted the gluten in the flour, meaning by the time you put it in the oven it didn't get any oven spring.
2) You made your dough too dry. If you followed this recipe and used 350 ml water to 500g flour it should not have been dry, as that ratio gives a 70% hydration (which is quite a wet dough).

Hope your next attempt fairs better!

martinjol123's picture

how do we stop the crust going to hard when baking

Jacquifb's picture

Yes you can put a shallow dish of water at the bottom which will moisturise the air....failing that you can also rub the cooked loaf top, soon as you take out of oven, with the wrapping from butter...this softens the crust and gives it a golden brown sheen

Gregorio's picture

A common method used by professional bakers is to steam the oven. They usually have a machine that sprays steam directly into the oven, but to bake bread at home you can get a similar affect by either spraying 3 or 4 squirts of water from a spray bottle into the oven just before you put in the dough, or by putting a small heatproof bowl of boiled water on the shelf below the dough when you put it in the oven. What this does is basically allows the dough to steam for a little while before a crust will develop, meaning that the crust will be thinner by the end of the baking time.
You can also cover the finished bread with a clean tea towel as it cools, as this keeps the steam in and around the bread during the cooling period.

daniron's picture

Very useful tips, I am new to bread making, Thanks for posting.

lamodeoutre's picture

I read on another recipe that you can brush milk to make a soft crust. I haven't tried however.

burnley beast's picture

Easy to make a mighty fine loaf .....

nutloop's picture

I used milk instead of water, has to be boiled first then let to cool til Luke warm, tastes wonderful

sasacemesova's picture

Absolutely fantastic recipe, easy and the bread was like the one I remember we used to buy when I was a child.

annaadams's picture

Meant to put, don't put the salt in, otherwise it tastes salty. I thought it was salted butter I had used but that was for another recipe!

annaadams's picture

I followed this recipe to the letter, my dough looked perfect and it cooked perfectly in the oven. Even when I cut it the bread looked great, however the let down was the taste, it was over salty and I could taste the yeast. Shame really as the loaf looked fantastic but the taste was off, I will not use this recipe again unless I use unsalted butter to see if that makes a difference.

laurasa's picture

The bread turned out very well risen but I found it lacked flavour compared to a shop bough loaf. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Maybe I just need to get used to eating less additives in a home made loaf!

suzannejones34's picture

I followed this recipe but added a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of sugar too. Instead of 500g of strong white bread flour, I used 300g and 100g of granary flour and 100g of spelt flour. I added garlic granules, chilli flakes and smoked paprika to the mix (just whatever amounts you like to taste) and I did this in the breadmaker, water first, oil, salt, sugar, flour mix, then the yeast in the top. I just used the dough setting, when it was ready, knocked it back, shaped into two ovals and cooked in the oven as per the cooking instructions. Fantastic.


Questions (2)

cheesenpickle's picture

Your recipe says to let rise till double in the first step - any estimation on how long that should take? Novice bread maker here & American desperate for a good British bread to make as authentic a cheese and pickle sandwich as possible! Thanks so much!

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi cheesenpickle thanks for your question, it will depend on the temperature in the room, but we would expect it to take approx 1hr - 1.5hrs. Hope this helps, let us know how you get on.

Tips (7)

Maisiebelle's picture

I always add a tablespoon of runny honey to the water and yeast. I don't know what it does but the dough is always good. It doesn't make the bread taste sweet.

montrealcat's picture

I've been baking bread for years and have always found it a pain to live life around the timing of rising, knocking down, second rising, baking, all that kneading etc. So here's my method for avoiding all the timing issues and avoiding too much kneading. To any bread recipe, mix liquids, fat, yeast salt and grains. Then add flour until it gets hard to stir. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel. Now, ask yourself, "am I going to be around for the next four hours?" If the answer is yes, put the bowl in a warm place and come back in a half hour, add enough flour so that you can knead the dough until it is smooth for about 5 minutes, place it back in the oiled bowl and let it rise until it is double in size. Proceed to step two above. If your answer is no, place the bowl in a cool, or even a cold place and then follow the same steps as above. Doing it this way, you can even throw together your bread in the evening or a sleepless night and get it started again in the morning.

Mrsgrew's picture

I left my dough to rise for 90 mins, but i do use cooler water, the way to test is to stick two fingers into the dough. If the holes fill up, it needs more time. If you they stay then the bread is ready to be punched down and shaped.

This video shows how to shape dough for a tin:

Trev the chef's picture

Here's a little something to help make that perfect loaf.
When your at one of those large supermarkets with their own bread bakers section, ( you know which ones I mean) well I always ask the bakers if they can spare some putty yeast. They always give some and it's free.
When you make the bread put 7oz of this yeast in alittle warm water, leave it for half an hour before adding it to the flour then add the rest of the water, mix before adding the salt. Doing it this way stops the salt from attacking the yeast. Also use silver spoon granulated sweetener instead of sugar one teaspoon. Leave it longer to rise than you would normally, approx one and a half hours by a radiator covered over then knead again for the second time.
Leave again this time in the tins for another halve an hour before it goes in the oven.

cavankat's picture

I tried this today with this basic recipe....For Veda Loaf or plain Malt Loaf
Warm flour 20 sec in microwave
Replace water with warm strong black tea
Use some of this tea with a pinch of sugar in with yeast before adding to mixture
Replace honey with 1tbsp extract of malt and 1 tbsp of black treacle dissolved in some of the black tea also
cover with teatowel when it comes out of the oven to keep the crust soft.
Glaze with warm malt or honey just before slicing.

lamodeoutre's picture

The recipe is great! It's so easy! I had a bread maker once, but the bread it produced was always too dense. And I always had this idea that making bread by hand was difficult, but it's very straightforward. The only tip I would add is to make sure on the second proving that you put the bread in the oven before it has finished rising completely - we let one rise until it was huge, but then all of a sudden it kind of deflated and then didn't rise in the oven.

snapperjack25's picture

it deflated because you over proved it and killed the yeast and/or didn't put enough salt in it.