Photos by Lauren O’Donnell 

The bread episode of The Great British Bake Off is notoriously difficult. Every season, contestants struggle to capture that perfectly crunchy crust with a light and fluffy interior. For something with so few ingredients, bread can be extremely finicky. Just one wrong move and you’ll be left wishing you’d never started. As one example, if it’s undercooked it can wind up doughy and inedible. But fear not! With this short recipe and a dash of patience, you’ll soon have your very own freshly baked bread to enjoy. 

This recipe is adapted from Edna Staebler’s “Neil’s Harbour White Bread” from her book Food That Really Schmecks

The Ingredients

1 cup lukewarm water

1 teaspoon white sugar

2 tablespoons yeast

2 cups lukewarm water

1⁄2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1⁄2 cup canola oil, or substitute vegetable oil

8 cups all-purpose flour

Part One — Making the dough

  1. Pop on a podcast, audiobook or a fun playlist.
  2. Pour one cup of lukewarm water into a large bowl (big enough to hold 10 cups of water). Dissolve one teaspoon of sugar, and sprinkle two tablespoons of yeast over top.
  3. After about ten minutes, the yeast should be frothy and will have risen to the top of the water. Stir until blended completely.
  4. Into the yeast mixture, stir two cups of lukewarm water, half a cup of white sugar, one generous tablespoon of salt and half a cup of canola oil.
  5. Beat in the flour one cup at a time. Eight cups is usually enough. After all eight cups have been added, the dough should be able to stay together and be easy to handle, while still remaining a little moist.
  6. Place the dough on a liberally floured countertop, sprinkling with more flour as needed. The flour helps to prevent your hands from getting too sticky as you handle the dough. Take out all of your frustrations and aggression on the dough, kneading it until the dough is smooth and elastic. This usually takes about eight minutes, depending on how aggressive your inner demons are.

Part Two — Proving yourself

Once you’ve finished kneading the dough, it needs a chance to rest and rise—also known as proving. To do this, place the dough in a large bowl that’s been lined in oil. Flip the dough to cover both sides in oil. Loosely cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it to prove in a warm spot for 1-2 hours or until it has doubled in size. Leaving it by a sunny window is generally your best bet. Here is a trick to know when you’re ready to move to the next step: when you stick your finger in the dough, your imprint should remain. 

Punch the dough down until it has deflated a bit, and divide into 4 equal-sized loaves. Place the loaves onto parchment-lined sheet pans and let rise for another hour in the same sunny spot, covered in a damp tea towel. Make sure to leave room between the loaves.

While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, go enjoy spring days that will hopefully be here soon. You could go for a hike, grab coffee with a friend or maybe catch up on the Netflix show you’ve been binging. Better yet, invite someone over for a date and impress them with your incredible baking skills. You could even make the dough before class and then finish it when you get home.

While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, go enjoy spring days that will hopefully be here soon. You could go for a hike, grab coffee with a friend or maybe catch up on the Netflix show you’ve been binging. Better yet, invite someone over for a date and impress them with your incredible baking skills. You could even make the dough before class and then finish it when you get home.

Part Three — Let’s get this bread

Take the same four loves on the parchment-lined pans and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes, until both the top and bottom of the loaves are golden, and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. After you’ve removed your loaves from the oven, let them cool on a rack. This is the hardest part, but trust me, if you try to eat it right away you’re going to burn your tongue.

Voilà! You now have four delicious loaves of bread, perfect for any kind of sandwich you can think of. If you try this recipe, make sure to tag the Silhouette, we would love to see your baking adventures!

Voilà! You now have four delicious loaves of bread, perfect for any kind of sandwich you can think of. If you try this recipe, make sure to tag the Silhouette, we would love to see your baking adventures!

 

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