This is by no means a revolutionary bread recipe. It's not gluten free, it's not knead free... it's not even quick. It takes a good few hours out of your day, and at the end of it all you are left with one half-loaf of white bread. But let me tell you, it is the most delicious and satisfying half-loaf of bread you will ever have the pleasure to eat. I like to make this when I am having a productive round-the-house kind of day. It takes a lot of looking after, but it's so easy to fit in whilst I am pottering around doing the laundry, other cooking, writing, etc.

I find that home-made bread doesn't last as long as store bought so the half-loaf makes the perfect amount for my little self. It also acts as built in portion control- so it's a win win really. This is how my grandma taught me to make it and the very first recipe in my little book. But before I get too sentimental over a loaf...here's what you'll need:

  • 300g (10.5 oz) Strong White Bread Flour
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 2g (3/4 tsp) Dried Active Yeast/ Instant Yeast
  • 200ml (7oz) Warm Water
  • 15x10 cm (4x6 in) greased (vegetable oil) loaf pan
  • Roasting Pan

To start off, combine the flour and salt in a small bowl. In a separate large bowl add the water to the yeast and stir until dissolved. This part smells a bit funny, but it's worth it- promise! Next, slowly add the dry mixture to the wet and form until it forms a dough. It won't be smooth to start with, but don't worry it's all part of the process. Cover with a tea towel and let sit for 10 minutes.

This is where the kneading starts... it doesn't actually take as much elbow grease as you'd think. Start by pulling portions of the dough outwards and pressing them into the middle. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat 8 times around the bowl (for around 10 seconds), until the dough starts to resist. Cover the bowl again and let stand for a further 10 minutes. Repeat the kneading/standing process a further 4 times until the dough is smooth. I told you it wasn't fuss free, but there is definitely something therapeutic about this bit. Cover once more and let stand for 1 hour. There's a lot you can do in an hour, so this is the time for productivity. I say this, but when I made this yesterday I just took a nap... so that works too. Check that the dough has doubled in size, and punch down gently with your fist (once or twice) to release all the trapped air.

Dust your work surface with flour and flatten your dough into an oval. Pull both ends into the middle and press down to form a roughly rectangular shape. Keep pulling the dough like this until it looks ready to fit the loaf tin. Place the dough in the tin, cover once more and let rise for a further 30-45 minutes. I wasn't lying when I said it was time consuming! 20 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 260c and place the roasting pan at the bottom to heat up. Once your dough has risen for the second time, pop your loaf tin into the oven and pour some water into the roasting pan to create steam. Lower the heat to 200c and bake for 35 minutes, until light golden brown. Let cool and enjoy! If you are unsure whether your bread is done or not, tap the bottom. If it sounds hollow it's finished.

This is one of my absolute favourite things to make when I have that little bit of extra time. It is so delicious, and there is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread. If I can stop myself from eating the entire loaf the moment it comes out... I love to have it toasted in the morning with jam, or it is especially nice for dipping in soups. Yesterday I made garlic bread out of it... I cannot even describe to you how delicious that was. It's just crisp enough on the outside whilst staying wonderful warm and moist on the inside. Make sure to pop it in an air tight container, or really wrap it up well so that it lasts as long as possible. And there you have it, my traditional white bread recipe. If you don't fancy yourself a fan of white bread, here are a couple of other variations. You can follow the same technique, just substitute the following ingredients and measurements:

Wholemeal Bread//

  • 300g (10.5 oz) Strong Wholemeal Flour
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 2g (3/4 tsp) Instant Yeast
  • 230ml (8 fl oz) Warm Water

Malthouse Bread//

  • 300g (10.5 oz) Malthouse Flour
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 2g (3/4 tsp) Instant Yeast
  • 200ml (7 fl oz) Warm Water 

Happy bread baking!