This recipe will provide you with the simplest, most basic way to get a loaf of bread onto your table. Remember that while all of the necessary instructions are here to make a great loaf of bread, a small part of baking will be the development of your intuition, senses, judgment, and skills, which are all built by practice. If you feel your very first loaf isn’t a slam dunk, check through the Common Problems and FAQs at the end of the recipe to determine how to improve next time. Then try again!
MAKES 1 LOAF
PREP TIME: 15 minutes (5 minutes to mix the dough, 5 minutes to fold the dough, and 5 minutes to shape the dough)
INACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes to rest, 1 hour 30 minutes to rise, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes to proof the dough and preheat the oven
BAKE TIME: 40 to 45 minutes
TOOLS NEEDED: thermometer, kitchen scale, large bowl, round basket, kitchen towel, Dutch oven
8 grams instant yeast
375 grams water
500 grams all-purpose flour
10 grams salt
- PREPARE: Find the ambient temperature of your kitchen with a thermometer. A great way to do this is to take the temperature of your flour while it is sitting out at room temperature. Take a look at the chart here to see what temperature water you need for your dough. I find the easiest way to get my water to the correct temperature is to fill a pitcher or jar with hot water and one with cold water from the tap. I pour the cold water into the hot water until I’ve reached the ideal temperature. The desired dough temperature here is 76°F.
- SCALE: Weigh all of the ingredients separately before you begin. This helps keep everything accurate. Use smaller bowls for ingredients in smaller amounts, like yeast and salt, to get the most precise reading.