Recipe: How to Make an Artisinal French Loaf
PAUL PAIN ANCIEN
MAKES 1 LOAF
250g strong white bread flour
2 tbsp fresh yeast
3g fine sea salt
½ cup chopped olives
1 Mix all the ingredients in a bowl by hand. You will notice the dough is very sticky and feels like it has too much water, this is completely normal.
2 Turn out the dough onto a floured table. Start turning it from top to the bottom. Continue to fold the dough a few times until you notice that it starts getting a bit easier to handle, making sure you always have flour on the table each time you fold the dough. Continue doing this for five minutes, after which the dough will look smooth and elastic.
3 Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave it for one hour to rest. During this time you will have to make a couple of turns to enable the dough to ‘deflate’. For each turn, carefully take the dough from the base and fold it in on itself. Place the dough in a bowl and cover again to let it rest for another hour.
4 Once the dough has risen, remove it onto a lightly floured table and cut it into a small loaf size between 300 and 400g.
5 Flatten the dough and carefully roll the dough into a Swiss roll-like shape, tapering off the ends so that the middle is fatter. Place the shaped dough into a greased tray, cover and allow it to rise again – about 45 minutes to an hour.
6 Fill an empty can with water and preheat the oven to 230C. Place the can inside the oven to create a steam environment for the bread. Cut a line on top of the loaf using a sharp knife.
Bake the bread for about 20-35 minutes, depending on your oven. If it sounds hollow when tapped, it’s ready. If not, return to the oven and allow to bake for a few more minutes.