Bread, Recipes

White cob loaf

Every baker needs a fool-proof basic bread recipe, so here’s mine. Many people think making bread is really difficult and technical but it really isn’t so bad. A white cob is slightly more difficult than a tin loaf as it is shaped by hand but I promise you this recipe will work every time and the results are so much better than shop bought bread.

Ingredients

  • 500g strong white bread flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 10g salt
  • 10g yeast
  • 30g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 320ml water (cool)
  • Olive oil (for kneading)

Step 1 – mixing the ingredients

Add the flour to a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other side. Add the softened butter and about three quarters of the water. Start mixing the ingredients with your hand, adding the remainder of the water a little at a time until you’ve picked up all the flour.

Note: depending on the brand of flour you are using you may need to use slightly less or slightly more water than specified to pick up all the flour. I use Allinson strong white bread flour and 320ml is about right.

Keep mixing the ingredients until you have a rough dough.

Step 2 – kneading and rise #1

Coat your worktop with a little olive oil and knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes. You want a dough that is soft and smooth.

When your dough is soft and smooth, put it into an large oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a tea towel.

Leave until doubled in size. This should take between 1 and 2 hours.

Step 3 – shaping and rise #2

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and lightly flour your worktop.

Remove the risen dough from the bowl and shape into a ball by folding it inwards to knock out the air.

Once the dough is smooth and all the air has been knocked out, it is time to form the round cob shape. Flatten the dough into rectangle and then roll into an oblong. Flatten slightly and roll the two ends into the middle to create a square. Turn the dough over so that the folds are underneath. With your palms upwards and slightly underneath the dough, turn the dough tucking it underneath itself until you have a smooth round dough.

Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and and prove inside a clean plastic bag.

Leave until doubled in size. This should take between 1 and 2 hours.

Step 4 – bake

Preheat your oven to 230ºC (fan oven 210ºC) and place a roasting tray in the bottom of the oven.

Dust the dough with some flour and slash with a knife. You can be as intricate as you like or a simple single slash down the middle will do.

Fill the hot roasting tray with hot water to create steam for a lighter crust.

Put your dough in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes or until it is cooked through. You can test this by tapping the base of the bread, if it sounds hollow, it’s baked.

Cool on a wire rack.

Step 5 – enjoy

I have had mine with peanut butter and raspberry jam.

How will you have yours?

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