Annie’s Basic White Bread Dough
- 500g white bread flour
- 10g dried yeast
- 10g fine sea salt
- 350ml warm water (weigh it, don’t
just measure it in a measuring jug)
Measure the flour and salt into a big mixing bowl.
Measure the water out, add the yeast, sit for a couple of minutes. Now pour in the water and either with your fingers, a big spoon/spatula, or one of these bread scrapers, mix the lot together into a big shaggy mass.
Tip the lot onto a board or bench and work the dough as follows: put your hands underneath it, lift it, slap it down on the board with a nice satisfying thwack, stretch the top of the dough out in front of you, then fold it back, taking care to do it gently, thus trapping air in-between the layers. Do this over and over again and if you keep lifting, slapping, stretching, folding, trapping air, the dough will start to form a homogenous smooth mass without the addition of any extra flour.
Once you have a relatively smoothish dough, place it on the board and form it into a ball by folding the edges into the centre, pressing down with your thumb, rotating the dough, folding and pressing until you have a neatish ball.
Rest the dough by putting it back in the mixing bowl, covering it with a tea towel then leave it somewhere warm and draught-free for about an hour until doubled in size.
After the dough has rested and doubled in size, shape it into a ball and leave it covered for another 30 minutes until, again, it doubles in size.
Pre heat the AGA to highest setting. Whilst this is happening do three things: put a baking sheet in the oven to heat up, put a roasting tray in the bottom of the oven and fill the kettle with water.
Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven, put the dough into the middle of it and slash the top with a sharp knife. Then boil the kettle and, once boiled, open the oven and slide the baking tray in, pour the boiling water into the roasting tray at the bottom and close the door.
Bake for about 35 minutes. Finally open the oven a tiny bit and cook for another 5 or so. These timings may not be absolutely spot-on, since your oven will be different from mine but about 40 minutes or so should be right for this amount of dough. Check every so often after the first 30 minutes. You’re looking for a golden finish and no ‘singing’ noises from the inside.
Remove the bread and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Pizza base
Images and Recipe by Annie Smithers