Farmhouse loaf

Farmhouse loaf

By
From
How to Cook Bread
Makes
1 large loaf
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

Inspired by Elizabeth David’s experiments in baking, this loaf is baked on a baking sheet under a deep, heavy casserole which mimics the effect of a steamy commercial bread oven and gives the loaf an extra boost in the oven as it rises to almost fill the casserole. Requiring only one rising, it is also quicker to make than most yeast breads. You will need a deep, round, 23–25cm Le Creuset-style casserole.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
20g fresh yeast
200-250ml tepid water
1 teaspoon soft dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra to grease
200g strong white flour, plus extra to dust
200g strong wholemeal flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon malt vinegar

Method

  1. Put the yeast, 2–3 tbsp of the water and the sugar in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Lightly flour a baking sheet and oil the inside of the casserole.
  2. Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, swilling out the bowl with a little more of the water to ensure all the yeast is incorporated, then add the oil, vinegar and enough of the remaining water to make a soft but not sticky dough.
  3. Knead for 8–10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then shape the dough into a smooth ball.
  4. Place on the floured baking sheet and press down slightly. Brush with oil, cover with the upturned casserole and leave to prove in a warm place for 1½–2 hours, or until it leaves only a little indentation when you lightly press the corner of the dough with your finger. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 220°C.
  5. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30–45 minutes, then take out and carefully remove the casserole, using oven gloves, and test the loaf. The base should sound hollow when tapped. If the bread is not yet cooked, or the crust is too pale, return it to the oven without the casserole, for about 15 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Tags:
bread
Leiths
baking
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