Hands up if you’ve hopped aboard the baking bread bandwagon during lockdown? We’ve mastered the sourdough starter and eaten our body weight in banana bread, but now it’s time to recreate the crusty bread on Crystal sailings. Sweet, savoury and best served with lashings of salted butter.
480g bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
1. In bowl of stand mixer, whisk bread flour and yeast together. Add 1 1/4 cups warm water and honey. Fit stand mixer with paddle and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and mix for a couple of minutes. Scrape down bowl and paddle with greased rubber spatula. Continue to mix a couple of minutes longer. Remove bowl and paddle from mixer. Scrape down bowl and paddle, leaving paddle in batter. Cover with plastic wrap and let batter rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
2. While dough is resting, stir salt into remaining 1/4 cup water. Adding the salt water to the dough after twenty minutes will help the dough proof quicker (it can save you an hour).
3. Add salt-water mixture and mix on low speed until water is mostly incorporated, about 40 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute, scraping down paddle if necessary.
4. Remove paddle attachment and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature for at least 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
Dutch Oven Method
1. Lay a 12 by 12inch sheet of baking paper on worktop and dust with flour. Place shaped dough in centre and cover with a towel and let rise for 40 min to 1 hour, the dough should be springy to touch.
2. Preheat oven to 220°c.
3. Pick up dough by lifting baking paper overhang and lower into heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and then place the lid on. Place in oven and set timer for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove lid and bake for another 20-30 minutes until loaf is deep brown and registers 100°c. Feel free to bake until your desired doneness. Always remember every oven heats different and you may have hot spots, so keep an eye on the coloring, you may have to rotate during the cooking.
4. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and leave to cool completely. I know, I know you want to slice it almost straight away. I still after all these years get the same urge, however, I have learned to resist temptation as it will spoil the finished texture.