This makes a decent 500g loaf, and just requires you to plan a day ahead.
By Jess Lacey
I had to try a recipe that compared making bread to having a pet cat. It requires minimum effort, a little bit of waiting, and given that I have used it six times with five perfect results, and one almost perfect result, I would have to say it is foolproof. I’ve adapted a plain loaf to make a tomato and fennel loaf, which is fantastic with some very seasonal wild garlic pesto and a schmear of goats cheese. This makes a decent 500g loaf, and just requires you to plan a day ahead.
- 400g white flour
- 300ml cold water
- 1¼ teaspoon salt
- 1g (1/4 teaspoon) dried yeast, or 3g fresh yeast
- 1-2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons tomato puree
- 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped sun dried tomato
- Put the flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Dissolve the tomato puree and yeast in the water.
- Stir into the flour with a wooden spoon until you have a dough.
- Mix in the fennel seeds and sundried tomato.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave for 12-18 hours covered (it will rise massively).
- Take it out of the bowl with floured hands, and knead together for a minute or so on a floured surface until it forms a coherent ball coated in flour.
- It will still be more sticky than you think is right, but it is, you don’t need to add more flour.
- Wrap in a tea towel and leave for 1-2 hours.
- It’s ready when you stick your finger in it and it leaves an indentation.
- During the last half hour or so of this, put a big casserole dish (apparently called a Dutch oven in the States?) or metal pot with a lid big enough to fit the dough almost doubling in size) in the oven at 250C to preheat.
- When the dough is raised, shape it into a loaf.
- Dust the now heated pot (carefully) with flour.
- Add the loaf to the heated pot and put in the oven with the lid on for 30 minutes.
- Take off the lid and cook in the oven for about another ten minutes, until the outside is crispy and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for 30-45 minutes.