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Homemade Country Loaf

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Ingredients
For starter
  Strong white bread flour 8 Ounce (225 Gram)
  Fast action dried yeast 1 Teaspoon
For bread
  Strong white bread flour 18 Ounce (500 Gram)
  Fast action dried yeast 2 Teaspoon
  Salt 2 Teaspoon
  Plain yogurt 2 1⁄2 Fluid Ounce (75 Milliliter)
  Oil 1 Teaspoon (For Greasing)
Directions

GETTING READY
1. In a large bowl, prepare the starter for the dough by tipping the flour and yeast together.
2. Use a wooden spoon to mix 200ml water into the flour and yeast mix.
3. Cover the bowl with an oiled cling film sheet and leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
4. In the morning, the starter should look frothy and bubbly with a fresh sweet smell.
5. Lightly oil a baking sheet and set aside

MAKING
6. In a large bowl, tip in the flour, yeast and salt and mix it well.
7. Add in 150ml warm water and yoghurt to the starter mixture until it is well mixed. Once the water and yoghurt it combined into the starter pour it into the dry ingredients.
8. Use a wooden spoon to bring the wet and dry ingredients together into a ball. This will take a few minutes as the flour has to absorb the water to form the dough. Add 50ml water to the mix if the dough feels tight.
9. Dust a cool surface with flour and tip the dough out.
10. Knead the dough by pushing down and away with the heel of your hand. Fold the dough back up again and over itself to make a ball. Turn the dough around and start the pushing-down and away motion again till the dough feels soft and springy. It will take 10 minutes for the dough to form a smooth round ball of dough that has a springy feel to it.
11. Oil a large bowl and place the dough inside it. Cover the bowl with a lightly oiled cling film.
12. Place the bowl in a warm draught-free area or a cupboard until the dough trebles in size. This will take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1-11/2 hours
13. Remove the oiled film, tip the dough out and punch down the dough
14. Knead twice again till the dough is smooth and springy again.
15. Shape the dough into a round ball and place on the baking sheet. Cover with the oiled cling film and set aside to proove again for an hour.
16. Preheat the oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8 while the dough prooves.
17. On the lowest rack of the oven, carefully place a backing tin filled with water.
18. As the water heats, the oven will get filled with steam. Let the oven fill with steam for 10 minutes before you start baking the bread
19. Prepare the dough by making a neat ball. Tuck all extra ends under the dough ball to make it look better.
20. Use a sharp knife to make slashes on the dough ball surface and then dust the surface with flour.
21. Place the dough ball on the prepared baking tray on the highest shelf and bake for 20 mins.
22. After 20 minutes, turn the heat down to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7, and bake again for 25 mins
23. Remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.

SERVING
24. Serve the bread with a bowl of soup, or as a chunky sandwich bread lightly toasted with some butter and jam.

TIP
-Dough can be made by tipping the ingredients into a food processor or a table-top mixer. This will take five minutes.
-Check to make sure that the loaf of bread is cooked by tapping on the bottom of the loaf. It should sound hollow. Return the loaf to the oven for an additional 10 minutes if the loaf sounds dull or looks uncooked.

Recipe Summary

Difficulty Level: 
Medium
Cuisine: 
American
Course: 
Side Dish
Method: 
Baked
Restriction: 
Vegetarian
Ingredient: 
Wheat
Interest: 
Party
Preparation Time: 
60 Minutes
Cook Time: 
40 Minutes
Ready In: 
0 Minutes
Servings: 
4

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