Prep2 hr 5 min
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 cups very strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 teaspoon salt, coarsely ground
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten
Tried and true
If you love eating bread, like me, you should definitely be making your own as much as you can. This recipe for a crusty cob loaf is simple enough for even the most novice bread maker; it was the first loaf I ever attempted (I’ve been making it most weekends ever since) and the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the loaf to cool down to eat. You don’t need any fancy equipment or a bread tin, though I sometimes use a mixer to knead the dough – all that’s required is the basic list of ingredients above and a bit of elbow grease. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Put yeast, sugar, and warm water in a bowl or jug and whisk with a fork until the yeast has dissolved. Stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until a thin layer of froth has formed on the top.
Sift flour into a large bowl then add salt, yeast mixture, and olive oil. Mix ingredients together to form a soft dough – you can do this using a mixer, a wooden spoon, or your hands. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes or until smooth and elastic. You’ll know the dough is ready when you can stretch a small piece gently without it breaking.
Lightly grease a clean bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Tip the now-risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and punch the dough with your fists to remove the air. The dough will reduce in size quite a bit but don’t worry, this is normal. Knead the dough for a few minutes until smooth.
Grease a baking tray well with olive oil cooking spray or olive oil. Shape the dough into a 15cm round loaf and place it on the greased tray. Cut a shallow criss-cross pattern in centre of dough with a small, sharp knife.
Preheat your oven to 200°C. Cover the loaf with lightly greased cling film and set aside in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dough has almost doubled in size.
Brush the top of the dough with the beaten egg, taking care not brush too hard or you will knock out some of the air that has come in during the last rise. Dust the top of the loaf with flour (this helps to stop the top from burning in the oven), then bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
When the time is up, test if the bread is done by flipping it upside down (I use a clean tea towel to hold the loaf) and knock on the bottom. If it sounds hollow, the loaf is done. If not, put it in for another 5 minutes and repeat.
- If the top of your bread gets too dark before the end of the cooking time, whip out some aluminium foil and loosely cover the top of the loaf, then resume the cooking time through to completion.
- Bread, just like meat, needs resting time before it’s served. Make sure you allow at least 20 mins for your loaf to cool before you tuck in, to allow the moisture to settle and the crust to firm up.
Recipe adapted from Super Food Ideas Cob Loaf as seen on www.taste.com.au