How do you bake the perfect loaf of bread?

This simple step-by-step recipe will teach you how to bake delicious white bread. This quick bread recipe is the perfect bake. It’s crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy inside.

Bake the dough

Lightly oil a 1-kg loaf pan and set aside. Mix 500g white bread flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt and 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar in a large bowl. Mix in 7g quick action yeast. Mix in 300ml of warm water, until the dough is sticky.

Knead the dough

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 15 minutes, or use an electric mixer for 7-10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. Kneading is essential. It allows the gluten in the flour to do its job, making the dough elastic and allowing it to rise. Form into a smooth ball. Place the dough in a bowl and lightly oil it. Cover the bowl with tea towels or cling film, then let the dough rest for at least 2 hours, or until it doubles in size. The formation of tiny air bubbles in the bread dough makes it lighter and more supple.

Kneel again

After the dough has risen to room temperature, place it on a lightly floured work surface. Use your hands to gently knead the dough. Keep kneading the dough for another 2 minutes. Next, use a cupping motion to smoothen the dough. Then, place your hands underneath the dough, creating a smooth, but tight, surface. The dough should be no larger than the tin. Turn the dough upside down and press the seam together. Smoothen the top and place it in the prepared tin. Allow drying for at least one hour before covering the top with lightly oil cling film.

Bake!

Turn the dough upside down and pinch the seam together. This will ensure that the bread doesn’t crack during baking. Place the dough in the prepared tin by smoothing the top. Allow the dough to be proof for an hour before covering it with light oil cling film. The second proof allows the dough to expand and improves its texture, making the final loaf wonderfully crusty. Turn on the oven at gas 7, 220C fan 200C. After the proofing time has expired, dust the top with flour. Then, use a sharp knife and make a small slash at the top about 1 cm from each end. This will allow the loaf to bake evenly and create a nice shape.

Bake

Bake the loaf for 20 minutes in the center of the oven. Next, turn down the heat to gas 6, 200C fan 180C, and cook for another 15 minutes. This gives the loaf a nice crust without burning the middle. Use a tea towel to gently flip the loaf upside down. Then, take it out of the tin. The bread should sound hollow when you tap it. If the bread doesn’t sound hollow or the bottom isn’t dry enough, flip the loaf over and bake another five minutes. Let cool, then serve.