For those on FB and here who have asked, here is the recipe for the Artisan loaf.
400g strong white bread flour
1/2 teaspoon of instant dried yeast [the dry granules that you add straight to the flour, as opposed to ‘active dried yeast’ that you usually mix with warm water first]. I bought some sachets in Aldi and just used half a teaspoon from one of them. I sealed up the packet for next time, I’m sure it’ll keep if I don’t leave it too long.
1 tsp sea salt
300 ml of tepid water
**[see below for sourced ingredients]
Mix everything together in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warmish place for 12-18 hours. I left mine for 12 hours, in the microwave as my kitchen is warm and the cats haven’t learnt to open the microwave [yet 🙂 ]. It tripled in size and turned into a big gloopy, soggy mass. Perfect!! [Yes, honestly.] xx
You now need a large oven proof pot with a lid. As you can see in my photo’s below I used a cast iron casserole pot but a pyrex or any decent sized casserole will do equally well. Anything that will withstand the heat.
Heat the oven to 450F ~ 230C [I did 210C for my fan oven] ~ or Gas 8.
Put the empty pot in the hot oven to warm 30 minutes before the bread goes in.
Flour your work-top. BE GENEROUS, IT’S A VERY STICKY DOUGH. Tip the dough out and shape it into a large ball. No kneading remember, you’re just shaping it. Cover with more cling film and leave it for 30 mins while that pot warms through.
Take a large piece of baking parchment and fold it into a strip. This will go under your bread while it’s cooking to enable you to lift it out of the pot when it’s all still very hot. [See photo below for help.]
Once the pot is warm, put the parchment and bread in [this is where you’ll be glad you floured the work-top well as mine stuck a bit, but it made no difference to the final outcome even though I kinda dumped it into the pot lol], lid on and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for a further 15 minutes to brown the crust.
Lift it out using those clever little handles you made earlier and cool on a wire rack. Eat as soon as you can cut it, if you can wait that long. It’s delicious toasted with butter and keeps well. A homemade loaf is never going to keep fresh for as long as a shop bought one, but then that’s because it’s not full of preservatives and other unknown rubbish. Surely this is the point of homemade; part of the charm? However, let’s be honest, it’s that tasty that it won’t be around for long enough to go stale 😉 .
I’ve seen people add all sorts, poppy seeds, cheese and onion, herbs…all the usual things that you find flavouring bread. So far I’ve only made it plain, but it’s delicious, a really nice flavour and a fantastic aerated texture.
**ETA the prices/source of the ingredients I used: ~
Aldi Pantry strong white flour 1.5kg is 75p = you can make three loaves with this, with a bit to spare for dusting.
Aldi Pantry 8 sachets of fast action dried yeast is 59p = I reckon you can get at least 16 loaves out of one box of 8, maybe more [I’ll know after I make my next loaf.]