The Perfect Loaf
Lockdown has got the nation in a baking frenzy, flour is in short supply up and down the nation, and many couples have ended up in arguments over proofing times.
But don't worry because Marlowe has got you sorted! Since lockdown began, my sister's boyfriend, Marlowe, has become a one man bakery, churning out loaves and loaves and loaves of bread. Each one better than the last. He started off with nothing other than plain flour, as bread flour was nowhere to be found. He's worked the following recipe to absolute perfection, and it's pretty simple. You can achieve this loaf with plain flour, but for ideal results try to find strong white bread flour in amongst the ghostly baking isles.
I'll let the master artisan baker take it away!
Makes one large loaf
600g flour (Marlowe used strong white bread flour but it's perfectly ok to use plain flour, just need for a little longer.)
370ml Slightly warm water
1) Mix together in a bowl until fully incorporated. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic approximatley 20 mins by hand. Test to see if the dough is kneaded enough by stretching the dough between your hands, and holding it up to light and seeing if it allows light through without ripping.
2) Put back in bowl and cover with damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise for about an 45mins - 1hour (or has doubled in size).
3) Remove from bowl and knock back the dough (take air out again).
4) Shape into a smooth ball (do this by stretching edges of the dough in on itself to the middle a few times until tension has increased on the underside, next turn over doughball so the smooth side is facing upwards)
5) Put the doughball on some greaseproof paper on the tray you would like to bake it on, cover it and leave to prove for 20 mins.
6) It should widen and form a nice smooth texture.
7) Preheat oven to 200/180 fan/gas 6 with a tray of water in the bottom
8)Slit the bread with a knife or razorblade
9)Bake bread for 40 mins or until golden brown