I’ll do a dedicated Bread how-to soon – with pictures and everything! In the meantime, give this a go!
This makes a fabulous, springy bread with a crunchy crust. You can increase the amount of semolina flour for a more Italian style loaf but you may need to increase the amount of oil.
Makes 1 loaf or 6 rolls
200g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
300g fine semolina flour
10g fine salt
5g dried active yeast
1 dessert spoon olive oil
1 dessert spoon honey (or caster sugar)
300ml tepid water
In a bowl, mix the white flour, semolina flour, yeast, and salt.
Mix the honey and oil with the water then combine with the dry ingredients in the bowl. Bring the whole lot together with your hands then tip out on to a floured work surface.
Knead for a good ten minutes until smooth and elastic then shape in to a round and place in back in the bowl. Dust with flour and cover with cling-film then leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
Knock the dough back with your hand and turn out on to the surface and knead for another minute or so.
Shape in to a loaf and place on a well floured board, covered with a tea towel to let it prove for about 45 mins or so.
Pre-heat your oven to its highest setting and place a roasting tray on the bottom and a clean baking sheet on the middle shelf to heat up. Put the kettle on to boil.
When your loaf is ready, dust the pre-heated baking sheet with flour and as quickly as possible transfer the loaf over. Slash the top with a serrated knife and put on the middle shelf. Pour the boiled water into the roasting tin to get steam and shut the oven as quickly as possible.
Bake at the top temp for 10 mins.
Reduce the oven to Gas 6/200c/400f, turn the loaf around and cook for a further 20 mins.
If it looks nice and golden, flip it over and bake it bottom side up for a further 5-8 mins until it is even and sounds hollow when you tap it.
Turn on to a cooling rack.
As this bread cools, the crust will begin to crack slightly – this is a good thing!
Allow bread to rise as normal and after the knocking back, divide in to 6 equal pieces and shape them in to tight rounds. Place on a well floured baking tray and prove as normal.
Rolls need to be cooked hot and fast so pre-heat your oven to its highest setting and when the rolls have risen, put them in with a tray of water (as above) and bake for 10-12 mins.
Turn over and brown the bottoms for a further 2 mins and tap to check it sounds hollow.