Country loaf

Country loaf

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(12 ratings)

Prep: 20 mins Cook: 45 mins Plus overnight resting and 2 hrs rising

More effort

Cuts into 10 slices
Fill the house with the aroma of freshly baked bread with this delicious artisan-style loaf

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal265
  • fat2g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs56g
  • sugars2g
  • fibre2g
  • protein9g
  • salt1.02g
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    For the starter

    • 225g strong white bread flour
    • 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast



      Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

    For the bread

    • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading and dusting
    • 2 tsp fast-action dried yeast



      Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

    • 2 tsp salt
    • 75ml plain yogurt



      Yogurt is made by adding a number of types of harmless bacteria to milk, causing it to ferment.…

    • oil, for greasing


    1. First, make the starter. Tip the flour and yeast into a bowl. Pour over 200ml warm water, use a wooden spoon to mix together, then cover the bowl with a piece of oiled cling film. Leave in the fridge overnight, after which the dough should look fairly frothy and bubbly, with a sweet yeasty smell.

    2. Now make the bread. Tip the flour into a bowl along with the yeast and salt. Pour 150ml warm water and the yogurt into the starter mixture, stir until well combined, then pour this into the bowl with the flour. Use a spoon to bring the mixture together into a ball – this will take a couple of mins as the flour needs to absorb the water. Add another 50ml water if the dough feels tight.

    3. Tip out the dough onto a surface lightly dusted with flour. Push down and away, using the heel of your hand to stretch out the dough, then fold the outside edge back over itself to make a ball again. Twist the dough round a bit and start again. Keep kneading like this for about 10 mins, depending on how vigorous you are. When it’s ready, the dough should feel slightly springy when touched and have a smooth surface when shaped into a ball. Alternatively, you can knead the dough for about 5 mins in a table-top mixer or food processor with a dough attachment.

    4. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside. Oil a piece of cling film, lay this loosely over the top, then leave in a warm, draught-free place until nearly trebled in size – this can take from 45 mins to about 1½ hrs. Remove the cling film and punch down the airy dough with your hand. Tip out onto your floured surface, knead a couple of times until smooth and the air has been knocked out, then lightly oil a large baking sheet. Shape the dough into a round ball and place on the sheet. Re-cover with the oiled piece of cling film and leave until doubled in size, about 1 hr.

    5. Heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Place a roasting tin on the bottom shelf of the oven and carefully half-fill with boiling water from the kettle. Leave in the oven for 10 mins so it gets steamy. If your dough has spread, gently tuck the ends under to make a neat ball, then use a sharp knife to make a few slashes across the bread before lightly dusting with flour. Place the baking sheet on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 20 mins. Turn the heat down to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7, bake for 25 mins more, then take out of the oven. Tap the bottom of the loaf – it should sound hollow. Return to the oven for another 10 mins if not. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Great with a bowl of soup, as a chunky sandwich or, best of all, lightly toasted with some butter and jam.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    7th Jun, 2020
    I didn’t have strong bread flour. Just plain. Still worked very well. Didn’t seem to require as much kneading
    17th Jan, 2018
    A great recipe that worked well. I prefer to add some wholemeal and spelt flours, up to 25% by flour weight (15% spelt, 10% wholemeal).
    11th Apr, 2015
    I just made this recipe and it is delicious and I'm very happy I had yogurt made by me and I shall very soon. Thank you. all the recipes I try with you are all perfect. :D
    24th Dec, 2012
    Amazing bread recipe! So reliable! I make this exactly as directed, usually starting on a Saturday night, so the kitchen's lovely and warm on a Sunday for the 2 rises. So satisfying doing the bread by hand, and now having made the loaf several times, it really takes very little time and effort. This last time I made it (yesterday), I sieved the flour and the loaf was lighter than ever. I have in the past split the dough into 2 smaller round loaves and also bread rolls. I have frozen it too with great success. I wrap the loaves in baking paper/parchment and a double layer of clingfilm. I let them defrost at room temperature and bring them to life in the oven, so you get a crust!
    27th Nov, 2012
    I am going to try this bread, but take it to dough setting in my bread maker, then in my oven hope this way works, will let you know, as really good write ups, thanks to you all,
    1st Oct, 2012
    Sorry, I'm used to making two loaves of over 1 kg each in each batch, so the rye flour added would be about 1/2 cup, or a little less and a heaping tablespoon of caraway would be a good place to start. MT C
    1st Oct, 2012
    This sounds like a great loaf. And even though I've been making sourdough products for a little over ten years now, I am still finding recipes I like. This looks like a good one. I like to keep them as simple as possible and this one fits the bill! As a suggestion most of my friends and the people I make bread for prefer the rye variety. I would guess, as I haven't done it yet, that substituting up to 3/4 cup of bread flour with rye flour (sorry, I'm not familiar enough with metric measures to even guess) and add about 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds that you have broken in a kitchen mortar(coffee or spice grinders work well too, but don't over do and end up with dust. You crack them to release the oil and leave them pretty much whole to provide as surprise when you bit into a seed.) All else should be the same. MT C
    26th Jan, 2012
    Great crusty loaf well worth making.
    30th Apr, 2010
    I used my breadmaker as previously mentioned. I made the starter in there too, I mixed it for 5 minutes until dough like and left at room temparature for 2 hours until well risen. I then added the rest of the ingredients. I used a mix of white and brown flour - 350mg white, 150mg brown. My favourite bread recipe, so far.
    17th Apr, 2010
    You MUST make this loaf its delicious and very easy as long as you think ahead - the dough hook on my kenwood mixer made light work of the kneading.


    18th Feb, 2014
    i have dried active yeast, not the fast action pack.i know i needed to add sugar to activate so i added it to the water before adding the yeast, then mixed with flour and put in fridge. my starter didn't become frothy but it did have sweet yeasty smell. what should i have done? can my starter still be used? or even saved?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    28th Feb, 2014
    Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. It sounds like your starter is ok, it won't be really frothy but small bubbles should appear. If there aren't any bubbles we'd suggest making it again with different yeast. 
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