White Yeast Bread

White Yeast Bread

White Yeast Bread

The baker kneads incessantly and puts the loaves in the fire. His head is in the middle of the fireplace. His son holds him by his legs. Should they slip out of his hands, the father would fall into the fire – a description of a baker at work from Ancient Egypt

I have been baking bread for quite a few years now. Before attending cookery school I would regularly make brown soda bread and homemade pizzas but it wasn’t until I attended Ballymaloe that I really fell in love with white yeast bread. To be honest, this was in part down to the fact that my attempts at brown soda bread were failing miserably. It can be a bit finicky and although all of my loaves were perfectly edible, they never quite looked the part. I focused a lot of my attention on yeast breads and had them down to a fine art – none of that mattered however, as I was tasked with making a brown soda bread for my final exam – raging!

There are thousands of recipes for white bread, all offering something a little bit different. This one gives a fine, soft crumb with a nice crust and is great for toasting for a few days after baking. You can multiply this recipe up without any great difficulty. There are two recipes written below. The first one is a simple white yeast bread while the second one contains a sourdough starter for extra flavour. If you would like to make a starter simply add 50g of strong flour, 50g of rye flour and 100g of bottled water into a large kilner jar and mix well. Repeat this everyday for 5-6 days until you begin to see lots of little bubbles on the surface – your starter is now ready to use. Keep feeding it everyday or you can keep it in the fridge and feed it every 3 days. A recipe for a simple sourdough bread is coming soon.

The water should be around blood temperature. When you put your hand in to test the temperature it should feel neither hot nor cold. You can use water at room temperature but the first rising will take longer.

Makes 1 loaf

425g Strong Flour (450g if not using rye flour)
25g Rye Flour (optional)
5g Dried Yeast
7g Fine Sea Salt
10g Poppy Seeds (optional)
1 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
250g Water (at blood temperature)

or

400g Strong Flour
100g Sourdough Starter
5g Dried Yeast
7g Fine Sea Salt
10g Poppy Seeds (optional)
1 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
200g Water (at blood temperature)

Fit a stand mixer with the dough hook and add all of the ingredients to the bowl, keeping the salt and yeast at opposite sides. Start the mixer on a slow speed and once a rough dough forms, turn up to medium and allow it to mix for 7-10 minutes until then dough is smooth and elastic.

If you plan on kneading by hand, simply add all of the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add the wet ingredients and mix with your hand until a rough dough is formed. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10-12 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Brush a clean bowl with olive oil and put the dough into it. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil and cover the bowl with cling film. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour).

Once it has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back the air. Divide into three equal parts and, using a claw shape with your hand, roll these into balls. Put the balls of dough into a WELL-OILED loaf tin, dust with flour, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until the tops just come out above the top of the tin.

Cook in a pre-heated 180 degree fan oven for 30 mins before removing from the tin and putting back into the oven for ten minutes more. Allow to cool on a wire rack and avoid the temptation of cutting into it while it is still warm – it’s worth the wait, I promise!

If anyone even dreams of putting spreadable butter on this, I will hunt you down – real butter only!



4 thoughts on “White Yeast Bread”

  • Fantastic! I’m almost embarrassed to say that I had no idea how to make a sourdough starter… so I’m delighted to now know! Will add this to the list of things to make.

    • Thanks Annik, nothing to be embarrassed about! It can seem a bit daunting and time consuming but it really isn’t. It’s also very easy to use it in a recipe like this without the hassle of a “proper” sourdough loaf!

  • I am a great fan of great homemade breads. Even if I can’t tolerate it well I like baking it specially sourdough. Yours looks perfect!

    • Thanks Mira. Yeah it’s such a joy to bake. Can you tolerate sourdough any better than standard yeast breads?

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