How to make the perfect crusty white loaf

September 15, 2011
Author: Guest

Sue Hudson with bread
To celebrate Eden’s Harvest Festival this October, we’re bringing you a selection of recipes, ideas and creations from the people who know all about harvest and its wonderful traditions. Today, bread specialist Sue Hudson shares some tricks of the trade.

I have been giving bread workshops in East Anglia over the last few years, and am constantly being asked which loaf is my favourite. I have to say, it would always be a lovely, crusty white loaf of bread, warm from the oven with lashings of melting butter. Here’s how to make it yourself.

Crusty white loaf of bread


Ingredients

  • 500g white strong bread flour (or extra strong bread flour)
  • 300g warm water (that’s 300ml, or 1.3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon quick yeast (Doves or similar) or 10g fresh yeast

Method

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together, add warm water and mix well with your hand until it forms a rough ball.
  2. Tip the dough ball on to a clean, lightly floured work surface, and knead for about 10 minutes, until elastic and pliable.
  3. Kneading tip: With your knuckles push the ball into a rectangular shape, then take the long side nearest you, and bring the edge to the centre of the rectangle. Repeat with the long side furthest away. Now bring the small edge to your right across one third of the rectangle, then the small edge to your left across the top of the whole of the dough.

  4. Pop the dough back into a clean bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel and allow it to rise for about an hour or an hour and a half, until doubled in size.
  5. Gently tip out the dough on to a clean, floured work surface and shape into your favourite loaf, and place it on a well buttered baking sheet or loaf tin.
  6. Allow it to rise again for 30-45 minutes, while you heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  7. Slash the top of the loaf with a very sharp knife, place the loaf into the oven, and cook for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 200 degrees Celsius and cook the loaf for a further 20-25 minutes until it’s lovely and brown on top.
  8. Special tip: For a really crusty loaf, use a plant mister filled with water to moisten the inside of the oven before placing the dough inside.

  9. Remove from the oven immediately, place on a cooling rack – and enjoy!

My husband and I are delighted to be joining the good people of Cornwall this year for their Harvest Food Festival, and are bringing a flour mill with us all the way from Norfolk. We both believe that you are what you eat, and you eat what you know – so join us for some milling practice on this beautiful, wooden flour mill and seive. During the workshop you can either make some delicious bread using this flour, or take it home to bake later.

Sue’s workshops will take place in the Eden Bakery at 11.30 on 1 and 2 October 2011. They are free (included within the price of admission to Eden). Find out more about the bread making workshops Sue runs throughout the year.

1 - 9 October 2011; Harvest Festival; Food, drink, dance and merriment; Click for the full programme

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5 responses to How to make the perfect crusty white loaf

  1. Shelagh in Vermont says:

    I was all set to make bread today after reading and Sharing this recipe on FB. However, in converting to US measurements 13 cups of water for 300g seemed a bit over the top!!! and shouldn’t fluid be measured in ml? I decided to make potato soup instead.

  2. Frederica Huxley says:

    @Shelagh – 300g water is one cup or 250ml! Bakers always weigh all their ingredients, rather than mix volume and weight.

  3. Rich B says:

    300g of water is 300ml if I remember my physics correctly.

  4. Mara in Philadelphia says:

    Yes, please make sure the proportions are correct and convert to cups for those of us who measure that way! This bread sounds delicious.

  5. Hannah says:

    Sue has confirmed that grams of water are the same as ml, so that’s 300 ml – or 1.3 cups. We’ve amended the recipe accordingly. Good luck!

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