This is a funny sort of recipe. The actual loaf itself only comes in at 12p for ingredients and looks like a posh deli one, but as the oven is on for a fair ol’ while, it can seem a bit expensive in terms of electricity. There are ways to combat this which I’ll cover at the end of the post, but meanwhile, let’s gaze on this glorious thing!
There are a few things to note though: you need to plan in advance to make it as the dough has to rise overnight; you need fresh yeast or a very good understanding of dried (more on that later); you need an oven that can get hot; you need a casserole dish with a lid – ideally cast iron.
Anyways, let’s press on. First of all, you’ll need –
400g flour (3p per 100g Tesco value, so 12p total!)
8g salt (1p? if that?)
Fresh yeast the size one a pea-less is fine (We get ours free from Tesco’s bakery section, but Sainsbury’s bakery will sell you some, and many independent bakers and health food stores will supply)
Day one: Dissolve the yeast and salt in the water (luke warm), then tip in the flour. Stir to wet all the flour (you don’t need to make a dough at this stage). Cover bowl with clingfilm or tight lid and leave for 12-18 hours (the longer the better).
Next day: Scrape the dough onto a floured surface. Fold it in on itself a few times (5-6 times). Coat a bowl with flour to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick and put the bread in. Cover again and leave for two hours.
During the two hours: heat the oven to 230 (very good, but if 220 is the max then that’s fine to). Put a Le Creuset-style casserole dish in the oven for at least 30 minutes so that it’s thoroughly hot (needs its lid). After the 30 mins, remove the pan from the oven. Take off the lid, plop in the dough, put the lid back on and back in the oven for 30 minutes. After thirty minutes remove the lid and return the bread to the oven for 15 mins. Rest for an hour before serving.
As I touched on at the start of the post, the oven being on is more of an expense than the ingredients, but you can be doing other things in it while it’s heating up to 220/230. Stick in some baked potatoes wrapped in foil/lasagne/cakes/other types of bread (recipes to come) and then you can freeze them for use later. You can do multiples of this loaf at once and remove it at the 30 minutes – it can then be frozen and ‘finished’ for the final 15 another day (though you do need to defrost it before returning it to the oven).
It’s worth noting that whilst we’ve tried this with all sorts of posh flours over the years, the best results come from the Value variety. You will get a nice loaf out of wholemeal, but the texture just isn’t quite right – for a more fibre-rich loaf it might be best to check out some of the other recipes I’ll be posting.
As to whether you can use dried yeast or not, I’m told you can – although we’ve never tried it. The thing to do would be to consult google first for quantities.
— Farn ❤