- Serves: Makes 2 x 450g loaves
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 3 hrs rising time
- Effort: easy
- 500 g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 sachet fast action dried yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp sugar
- 300 ml warm water
- butter or olive oil
1. Put the flour into a mixing bowl, add the salt and yeast and stir with a wooden spoon, until fully combined.
2. Spoon the olive oil and sugar into the measuring jug and top up with warm water to just over the 300ml mark. Stir well.
3. Add the oily water to the flour a little at a time and using either a wooden spoon or your hands, work the water into the flour and gradually bring it together into a mass of soft slightly sticky dough. If necessary, add a little extra water or flour to give the correct consistency.
4. Dust the work surface and your hands lightly with flour. Turn the dough out and knead for 5 minutes or so, until smooth and elastic.
5. Knead for a further 5 minutes.
6. Form the dough into a neat ball, return it to the bowl and cover the bowl with cling film (brushed with oil) or a damp tea towel.
7. Leave the dough in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.
8. Turn the dough out and knead for 2 minutes.
9. Divide the dough into two equal sized pieces and form each piece into an oblong. Fold one end into the centre and then the other across the top. Repeat with the other piece.
10. Lightly grease 2 loaf tins and sprinkle each with a dusting of flour. Place one piece of dough in each, then place them side by side in an oiled polythene bag (or cover with a damp tea towel). Leave to rise for about 30 -50 minutes, until the dough rises above the tops of the tins.
11. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 450°F (230°C). Bake the loaves on the centre shelf for 30-40 minutes, or until they sound hollow when the bases are tapped.
12. Place the loaves back in the oven upside down (and out of their tins) and cook for a further 5 minutes, to crisp the base and sides. Cool on a wire rack.
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