Making your own bread at home is an easy and fun way to get the whole family involved in the kitchen and our step-by-step recipe is our tried and tested formula for baking the perfect loaf. From sourdough and ciabatta to baguettes and focaccia, there are so many tasty ways to make bread but a simple loaf using flour, water and yeast is a great place to start. In addition to the basic technique we’ve included some of our very best tips and tricks to help you perfect your bread making skills.
If you have a stand mixer use the dough hook attachment to mix your dough initially and if not, you can mix by hand on your work surface. It works just the same and is a little messier but gives you a real sense of achievement that you are making truly ‘artisan’ handmade bread. Our recipe can be sized up or down easily but take care with the salt and sugar quantities which can be easily mixed up, and once fully cooled you can freeze and store your loaf for several months if you wrap it so it is airtight.
What you’ll need to bake homemade bread
- 1kg strong bread flour (white or brown)
- 625ml warm water
- 3 x 7g sachets of dried yeast or as per yeast packet instructions
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 level tbsp fine sea salt
- Extra flour for dusting and kneading
Mixing your bread dough
- Measure your dry ingredients and combine in the bowl of your stand mixer or if mixing by hand, pile the ingredients on to a clean worksurface and create a well in the middle.
- Slowly add the water to the dry ingredients, mixing as you go. If using a mixer keep your setting on low to start with and if hand mixing, flour your hands before gradually folding the flour into the centre of the well as you add water.
- Continue mixing until all the ingredients are combined and you have a dough that comes together in one piece. If the dough is a bit sticky add a little extra flour.
Kneading and proving
- Generously flour your work surface and using the heel of your hand knead for 5-10 minutes and continuously bring the edges of the dough into the middle as you go. Continue until the dough is smooth and springs back if you push your finger into it.
- Place your dough in a bowl and leave it at room temperature away from drafts for its first ‘prove’. The dough needs to double in size, and this can take anything from 15 to 45 minutes.
- Turn the proved dough out on to a floured work surface and knock out the air by kneading it a little.
- If you are making two loaves split the dough into 2 and shape each piece any way you want. If you want a standard loaf shape use a 2lb/900g loaf tin per 500g flour used. Just remember when you are shaping your dough it will double in size again on the second prove!
- Set your bread aside for to prove, waiting as long as it takes to at least double in size (this may take longer than the first prove).
Baking your bread
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- When the dough is ready carefully transfer it to the oven and bake for around 30 mins or until golden brown.
- To test turn it out of the pan and knock the underside – if it’s hollow it’s done. If not just pop it back in for a few more minutes.
- Let your dough cool on a rack and then tuck in!