White Farmhouse/Cob/Bloomer

550g strong white bread flour
385g water, warm (@ 40C) HYDRATION RATE 75%
8g (4g) fresh (dried) yeast
11g salt

Makes 2 small, 1 large loaf or 8 rolls/breadcakes

You’ll need 2 x 1lb loaf tins/1x 2lb loaf tin, greased or oiled or a 12″ x 8″ (approx) baking sheet oiled & lightly floured or lined with non-stick baking parchment

***PLEASE REFER TO NOTES ON RECIPES IF YOU’RE UNSURE OF ANYTHING AS YOU GO***

Separately weigh out the yeast and salt.

Select the bowl in which you’re going to make the dough, set it on the scales, zero the scales and weigh in the flour.

Add the salt and dried yeast, if using, to the flour and disperse through.

Zero a jug on the scales and weigh in the warm water (it should be tepid, warm – not hot – and if you have a thermometer make sure its around 40C.

If using fresh yeast, add to the water and whisk in till dissolved.

Pour the water into the dry ingredients.

With one hand holding the bowl steady, use the other hand to gently bring the ingredients together. As the flour is incorporated and the dough begins to form begin to mix more forcefully, in turns beating the dough with your hand and ‘squidging’ it with your fist. The dough will be wet and very sticky at this point – DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO ADD FURTHER FLOUR in an attempt to diminish the stickiness.

Sufficient mixing has been carried out when the dough has ‘cleared’, i.e., it has become a smooth and homogenous mass with no dry flour or lumps remaining. Scrape any dough from your hand back into the bowl, cover and leave for 30mins.

Coming back to the dough at this point, you should, as you mix the dough briefly once more, notice a significant change in its characteristics: that initial stickiness and incoherence should have by now transformed to a good degree of elasticity (well done for holding back from adding further flour at the beginning!). This dough should feel soft: a stiff and clay-like dough might indicate incorrect measuring of the ingredients, too much flour, or too little water. The mixing at this stage is brief, and should take you barely a minute. Cover the bowl and leave until the dough has almost tripled in size (the length of time this takes will depend upon the ambient temperature of the kitchen).

Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out of the bowl. Portion the dough as required and shape into the desired loaves/rolls (Youtube is a fantastic resource for dough shaping or click here to Bake with Jack).

Preheat the oven to 230C/Mk7

Once shaped, cover the dough, perhaps with an upturned bowl or plastic box, a damp tea towel or a piece of lightly-oiled clingfilm. The dough now needs to recover and aerate, doubling in size once more before it goes in the oven.

Bake rolls for 10mins @ 230C

1lb loaves for 25mins @ 220C

2lb loaves for 35-40mins @220C, reducing to 200C after 20mins.

Check the colour halfway through, reducing temperature if required, and again 10mins before the end.

Turn out the loaves, remove from baking trays, onto a cooling wire immediately, and try to allow to cool before tucking in…