(Makes 1 small loaf)


  •     300g white strong bread flour
  •     1tsp salt
  •     3g fresh yeast or 2g dried yeast
  •     200ml warm water
  •     500g loaf pan, greased with vegetable oil


In one (smaller) mixing bowl, mix the flour and salt together and set aside. This is the dry mixture. In another (larger) mixing bowl, weigh out the yeast. Add the water to the yeast. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. This is the wet mixture.
Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.

Mix the two mixtures together with a wooden spoon and then your hands until they come together to form a dough.
Use a plastic scraper to scrape the side of the bowl clean and make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Cover with the bowl that had the dry mixture in it. Let stand for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, the dough is ready to be kneaded. Leaving it in the bowl, pull a portion of the dough up from the side and press it into the middle. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat this process with another portion of dough. Repeat another 8 times. The whole process should only take about 10 seconds and the dough should start to resist.

Cover the bowl again and let stand for 10 minutes.
Now repeat the kneading process twice, making sure you let the dough stand for 10 minutes in between. After the second kneading, the dough should resist strongly when you pull it.

After the third kneading, the dough should be beautifully smooth. Knead and rest for 10 minutes.
After the fourth kneading, you should have a smooth ball of dough when you turn it over in the bowl.

Now cover the bowl again and let rise for 1 hour. When the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down gently with your fist to release the air.
Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour.

Remove the ball of dough from the bowl and place it on the floured work surface. Gently flatten the dough into an oval.
Fold the right end of the oval over into the middle. Now fold the left end of the oval over to the middle.

Press down slightly to seal the dough together. You will now have a roughly rectangular shape.
Now you can start to shape the dough into a loaf: pull and fold the top of the rectangle one third of the way toward the middle, pressing it into the dough.

Swivel the dough 180° and then press down slightly on the dough to seal it. Repeat until you have a neat, reasonably flat loaf shape roughly the size of your loaf pan.
Place the dough inside the prepared loaf pan, seam-side down. Cover the loaf pan with the large bowl or a clean plastic bag (blown up) and let rise until slightly less than double the size - about 30-45 minutes.

About 20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F, gas mark 9) on the fan setting if possible or as high as your oven will go. Place a roasting pan at the bottom of the oven to preheat. Fill a cup with water and set aside.
When the dough has finished rising, remove the bowl or covering.

Place the loaf in the preheated oven, pour the reserved cupful of water onto the hot roasting pan to form steam and lower the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F) gas mark 6.
Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

To check if it is baked through, tip it out of the pan and tap the bottom - it should sound hollow. If it is not ready, return to the oven for a few minutes. If it is ready, set it on a wire rack to cool.

How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou is published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced £19.99. Readers can buy the book for £17.99, including postage and package, if they phone Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quote the reference GLR 5QB