Introduction: Simple White Loaf

About: I do web programming for a living, but in my spare time, I'm an electronic hobbyist. I like to disassemble things just to see how they work. I love baking bread and the like. I like cooking all sort of food a…

After making my first bread instructable (Peter Reinhart - Lean Bread), I tough it would be a nice idea to post a simpler basic recipe.

In this instructable, I'll explain how to make the most basic bread loaf (imo).

It's a plain white bread; A nice canvas for your creativity.

In my case, I had in mind putting dryed cranberry... but somehow I couldn't find them, so it stayed plain (which is good on his own!).

Step 1: Ingredients

Always the same basic ingredients :

- 17.65oz / 500g Bread Flour
- 11oz / 312g Water
- 1½ tsp (0.21oz / 6g) Yeast
- 1½ tsp 0.31oz / 9g) Salt

Make 2 1lb loaves(or 4 mini loaves in my case)

Remember to use lukewarm water!

Step 2: Tools

You need some basic tool. If you're lucky to have a stand mixer or bread machine (dough mode), use it!

But this can be made by hand

By Hand :
- Large bowl
- Large wooden spoon
- Kitchen scale
- Your hands

With Mixer:
- Stand mixer or Bread machine
- Dough hook or bread machine paddle
- Kitchen scale

Step 3: Yeast and Water

Mix the yeast and water.

Let rest for 5 min.

Step 4: Flour and Salt

Add the flour and salt to the bowl all at once

Mix until the dough holds its mass together.

Step 5: Kneading

When the dough is holding a "shape", start to knead.

By Hand:
- Remove from the bowl and place on a oiled surface.
- Oil your hands and start to knead.
- Stretch, fold then push down with your palm.
- Turn 90 degree and repeat until the dough is elastic and smooth.

With Mixer:
- Let the mixer knead until the dough is smooth. The bowl should be almost clean when it's done.

Step 6: First Proofing

Bread needs some time to rest and develop all it's goodness. This is called proofing.

- Form in a round ball and place in a oiled bowl.
- Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap.
- Let rest for 1h or doubled in size

Step 7: Second Proofing

As useless as it sounds, your bread will be far better with this second proofing. You really don't want to skip this step.

- Uncover.
- Punch down with your fist.
- Form into a ball (doesn't need to be perfect)
- Cover with a cloth
- Let rest for 1h (again!)

Step 8: Third Proofing (last)

Finally, it's almost done with all this waiting time!

- Take the dough out of the bowl (try to keep the air bubbles!)
- Separate in 2 (or 4) equal parts.
- Shape into a log as big as your loaf pan
- Put into a lightly oiled loaf pan
- Cover
- Let rest for 1h

30 min prior to baking, preheat your oven to 425F

Step 9: Baking

As with any other food, baking is the most important part of it.

- Uncover.
- Score the loaves as you like or leave them plain.
- Put into your preheated oven on the middle rack.
- Bake for about 25-30 min. (or 20-25 min. for mini loaf)
- The crust should be golden brown.

Step 10: Result

Finaly! We're done...almost!

- Remove from oven
- Remove from loaf pan
- Let cool on a cooling rack for an 1h
- Cut into slices and eat!

Step 11: Be Creative!

Don't stop here, try new things!

For me, bread is a canvas for creating wonderful mixes. Think of it as a solid bloc pizza!

- Add nuts, fruits, chocolate... whatever !
- Try other flour types
- Try other liquid (milk, beer, tea? why not)

I hope this instructable will spark the bread baker in of you.

Have fun!

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