Making bread is not difficult, however you do need lots of time! I use Paul Hollywood's recipe on the BBC website.
Prep time: 2.5 hours
Cooking time: 45 mins
500g/1lb 1oz strong white bread flour 2 tsp salt
40g/1½oz soft butter 300ml/10¾fl oz tepid water
12g/2 sachets fast-action dried yeast Olive or sunflower oil
1) Put the flour and butter into a large mixing bowl, add the yeast at one side of the bowl and the salt at the other(otherwise the salt will kill the yeast). Stir with a spoon, then add half of the water and mix with fingers, this may get messy! Continue to add the other half of the water, you may not need it all. Paul suggests that you are looking for "a dough that is well combined and soft, but not sticky or soggy", mix until the bowl is clean, keep going until you have a ball of dough.
3) Clean and dry your mixing bowl and then put the dough back into it ready to 'prove', cover it with a damp tea towel, put it in a 'cosy' place where it will keep warm(not hot or the yeast will work too quickly. Paul suggests lining a baking tray with baking paper, I tend not to do this. After around one hour the bread should have doubled in size(see pictures). Lightly flour a work surface, knead it again and knock out all of the air, now shape it into your desired shape.
4) Place the dough onto a baking tray, cover it again with a tea towel and the dough should double in size again after one hour. Preheat your oven to 220C (200C fan assisted)/425F/Gas 7. Fill a large empty roasting tray with cold water and place at the bottom of the oven. Sprinkle some flour on top and score it with a knife, a diamond pattern looks very nice.
5) Put the loaf in the oven on the baking tray which it has been proving in, bake for about 30-50 minutes depending on the shape of your loaf.
6) The bread will be ready when its risen and golden, if you are not sure, turn over the bread and tap underneath, if it sounds hollow it is ready.
Voila! We have homemade bread! Perfect with lots of butter and homemade soup