I don't have an airing cupboard for proving, instead I have a cheap bread machine (£20) and just use the dough setting.
500g white bread flour
350ml lukewarm water
75ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
- Pop all the ingredients into a bread machine on the dough setting.
- At the end of the programme - trying not to knock the air out of it, with a plastic spatula carefully ease the very wet sticky dough on to a thickly floured surface.
- Cut in half with a dough scraper and with well floured hands gently shape into a rough rectangle.
- Liberally dust two baking trays with flour, place each dough on top and dust each with more flour.
- Preheat oven to gas mark 7 and place a roasting tin with water on the bottom.
- When the dough has risen to double its size (around 1hr), pop into the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes. I usually rotate the tray 180 degrees midway through.
- I then tend to turn my bread upside down and bake for a further 5 minutes, to ensure a nice firm base. At the end of baking time tap the base, it will sound hollow when baked through.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
- Even though it will be tempting to scoff straight away, leave to cool on the wire rack to allow the proteins in the bread to relax.