White Farmhouse Loaf

A white farmhouse loaf is an everyday basic, perfect for sandwiches and toast. Depending on the temperature of your house and the weather at the time, you may need to adapt your resting and proving times – don’t be afraid to amend these to suit your baking environment, and give it more or less time as required.

This is a recipe that I adapted from one that I was taught by Salah. The original contains more butter and has a slightly yellower, richer crumb – this version has been designed as a plainer alternative.

Makes one 800g loaf

INGREDIENTS

  • olive oil, for the tin / bowl
  • 510g strong white bread flour
  • 30g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 15g semolina, plus extra for dusting
  • 280g water
  • 5g dried fast action yeast
  • 8g salt

METHOD

Have ready a lightly oiled 900g non-stick loaf tin.

Mix the flour, butter and semolina in a large bowl and combine by hand (or you can use an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook) until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. If you’re doing it by hand, use your fingers to rub it in until you have a breadcrumb-like consistency. Add the water and yeast and stir until combined into a dough. Lastly, add the salt. Lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth, and leave to rest for 30-40 minutes at room temperature (allow more time if your room is cold, or a little less time if warm).

After this preliminary rest, shape the dough. Roll the dough into a round shape on your work surface, cover, and leave it to rest for 10 minutes. Then form it into a bloomer shape, to fit your tin. Flatten the dough with your palms and fold the top down to the centre and the bottom up to meet it in the middle. Swivel the dough around so that the short end of the rectangle is facing you, and roll and tuck the dough into a tight bloomer shape.

Place the dough in the loaf tin. Cover and leave it to prove for an hour or so at room temperature, until it has doubled in size. Halfway through the proving (after 30 minutes), sprinkle your loaf generously with strong white flour and lightly apply a long, deep score directly along the length of the loaf. Leave it to prove for the remaining 30 minutes (or until doubled in size).

Preheat your oven to 230°C. Place around 12 ice cubes in an ovenproof dish in the bottom of your oven to create steam. Place your loaf in the oven. After 10 minutes, quickly remove the ice cubes. Bake for a further 25 minutes. The loaf should be pale golden yellow on top and the base should sound hollow when you knock it. Tip it out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.