- STEP 1
For sandwich loaf tin:
807g strong white flour
11g instant yeast
- STEP 2
You will need:
2 x large mixing bowls,
Digital weighing scales,
Spatula or wooden spoon,
Sunflower oil for greasing tin,
Olive oil for greasing mixing bowls,
Jug to measure water,
Tin for putting water into to create steam,
And plastic spray bottle (optional)
- STEP 3
A very important point regarding loaf tins, a lot of tins say they are 2lb, but actually aren't and this can lead to the dough collapsing because it isn't properly supported or the dough's oven spring going over the sides because the tin is too low. The best way to work out the size of your tin is to put it empty on weighing scales, fill it with water to the top and work out how many ml there are for example 1300ml is 1300g. You want a dough that is 60% volume of the tin for white flour or 70% for wholegrain of the tins volume for a loaf that will fill the tin well. So based on the 1300ml we would need a white dough that is 780 (to work this out I divided 1300 by 100 x 60 to work out 60 percent which gave me 780, this is weight of the dough before baking). The best tin in my opinion is an 800g sandwich loaf tin (23cm long, 12cm wide and 12cm tall) which needs more than 800g of dough, so don't be confused by tin size labels.
To adjust recipes to suit tin volumes, here is a website with a dough converter:
- STEP 4
Measure out the flour, and put yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl.
A good way to measure water is on the weighing scales using a jug as 1ml of water weights the same as 1g so 350ml is 350g.
Make a well in the middle add the water a bit at a time, using a spatula or a spoon continuing mixing until all water has been added.
You will notice that it becomes difficult to mix the dough with just the spatula, so use your hands instead to fold the dough over on itself inside the bowl until it feels firm and comes together.
- STEP 5
Lightly flour the work surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes, use a bit more flour if you need to, a dough scraper is very useful at this stage.
Divide the dough into two and oil 2 mixing bowls with olive oil, put each ball into 2 separate glass bowls, the bowls should be big enough to allow the dough to at least double in size. Move the balls around so they are covered in the oil. Cover with Clingfilm and leave for a 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- STEP 6
Just before 1 hour and 30 minutes is up, turn on the oven to 220 conventional, 200 fan and Gas mark 7, make sure the shelves are arranged so a tin can fit in and the dough has enough room to rise 2-3 inches above the top of the tin, also you need to be able to have a empty tin (I use a 20cm or 8 inch sandwich cake tin) which will be later filled with boiling water to create steam. I have two shelves, one right at the bottom for the empty tin and one on the next level where the loaf tin will go.
To test if your dough has risen, use to wet fingers to gently press about 1 inch into and poke two holes into the dough, if the holes stay then the dough has risen enough as it doesn't have any more energy to fill the holes, if it fills in then it needs more time, so keep checking and testing every 5 minutes. If the holes collapse then it has over risen, no need to panic as we just take time off the proofing time. For example if it has over risen by 10 minutes, we reduce time that the dough proofs in tin by 10 minutes and put it into the oven.
- STEP 7
Next, lightly flour the work surface, make sure you have lightly oiled the tin with sunflower oil (not olive or vegetable as they vaporize) and you have a rolling pin. Punch both dough's down removing the air, join both together and knead for 30-60 seconds.
Then fold the edges of the dough into the centre, moving the dough round as you do, you should end up with a tight ball; this creates tension on the surface of the loaf and helps give the loaf structure. Place the ball on the work surface and using both hands slightly underneath, continue until all the dough is rolled up and sealed.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a large rectangle, the width should be no wider than the tin. When you have done this, start with one end and fold over the dough about a good inch or two from the bottom, using the heel of your hand press firmly on the seal, roll the roll of dough forward and seal again, remember to press firmly as you do. Keep going until all the dough has been rolled and sealed, put the dough into the tin with the seal at the bottom and gently flatten the dough roll in the tin.
This video will help:
- STEP 8
Cover the tin with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30-35 minutes, less if it has over risen. Fill the empty tin that is in the oven with hot/warm water. You can also use the spray bottle to create more steam. To check if the dough has proven enough using your small finger gently poke the dough in the corner, if it fills back then it needs another 5 minutes and then check again in another corner, if it doesn't fill back in then it is ready for the oven. Use a dough lame to score the bread before going into the oven. This controls the oven spring and stood the crust from tearing open. You can cut straight down the middle or a few diagonal cuts across the width of the dough.
- STEP 9
The oven should be at the right temperature, steamy and ready for the tin. You can sprinkle water on top and dust with flour and gently rub to give a stone baked affect, you can also spray (using a plastic spray bottle) the top of the dough as this will keep the crust softer for longer and allow for more oven spring. You can also spray the oven before and after the loaf goes into the oven but once the oven door is closed do not open the door for the first 5-10 minutes as this is when the oven spring happens and the crust forms.
I would also recommend that you slash the top of the dough with a very sharp serrated knife or dough lame, you can do a long vertical slash all the way down the middle of the loaf, but my personal favorite is 3-4 equally spaced diagonal cuts, make sure that they are quite deep.
- STEP 10
Bake at 220 conventional, 200 fan and Gas mark 7 for 20 minutes, remembering to turn the loaf every 10 minutes for an even bake. Turn down to 200 conventional, 180 fan and gas mark 5-6, for 35 minutes, then remove from the loaf from the tin and put back on the shelf for 5 minutes, the loaf if ready when removed from the tin it sounds hollow like a drum. For extra crispiness, you can remove the loaf from the tin and place back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Let the loaf cool down on a wire rack.