250g bread flour/ strong flour
dash of salt
This is a basic guideline for bread and it serves 8 portions or 4 generous hunks.
Mix the bread flour, salt and yeast so that the dry mixture is fully combined.
Add olive oil and water until the mix becomes a dough.
I tend to use about half olive oil and half water because olive oil makes the bread moist, but too much is greasy and rich.
Leave the mixture to double in siz\e in a warm place, and then preheat the oven to 200C.
When the bread dough has risen, knead it to knock all the extra air out of it.
Place it on a baking tray in any design; I normally do it as a kind of mound.
I score the top to make the crust crusty. Adding some rock salt to the top makes a tasty addition.
If you want a glossy top, paint the top of the bread with egg.
When you put the bread in the oven, leave it on 200C for about 20 minutes, and then turn it down to about 180C. It is important for the first bit of cooking for the oven to be at a high temperature so that a nice crust forms. Then you should turn it down because you don't want to dry out the bread.
After about 40 minutes, or when the bread sounds hollow if you tap it, it is ready to come out of the oven. The bread is best eaten warm with butter generously spread on it topped with smoked ham.
There are lots of variations you can make, like adding a shot or two of whisky. The good part is that you don't have to feel guilty because the alcohol is burnt off whilst cooking.