Crusty Bread Loaf

When I was living in London there was this amazing bread shop in Borough Market that sold proper bread! It took them three days to make a loaf and because of that the yeast had time to bloom beautifully, resulting in the tastiest bread I’ve ever had!
Sadly, that shop is too far away for me to visit now but I’ve tried to recreate it at home using their dough “starter” method. I think that extra step makes such a difference! Sure there are plenty of recipes which give you bread in a couple of hours but I promise this one is tastier! (And possibly even easier to digest)
It may take some extra hours but it’s not labour intensive and let’s face it…there’s nothing better than eating fresh bread!
Starter Dough:
100 grams or 3/4 cup, Strong White Bread Flour

100 grams, 1/2 cup, Cool Water
3 grams/ 1 tsp, Fast Action Yeast*
Main Dough:
500 grams or 3 1/4 cups, Strong White Bread Flour
350 ml or 1 1/2 cups, Cool Water
2 teaspoons or 9 grams, Salt
4 grams or 1 1/4 teaspoons, Fast Action Yeast*
More flour to work your dough
(Make sure your yeast packet is well within its use-by date, and is unopened)*
Mix all your starter ingredients together in a small bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 12-18 hours (no more than that.)
After your mixture has matured, pour the Main Dough ingredients into a bowl (put your salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl so the salt doesn’t kill the yeast) and add your Starter mixture to the bowl as well.
Get a large bowl and oil it well with olive oil or vegetable oil. Set aside.
Option 1
Kneading by hand:
Give mixture a quick mix in the bowl to form a dough, then scrape it out with a dough scraper or wooden spoon onto a floured surface- add just enough flour so the dough doesn’t stick to you or the work surface. Then knead for 10-12 minutes until the dough forms a smooth ball.
Option 2
Dough Hook Mixer Attachment:
Knead in your mixer with a dough hook attachment for 5-6 minutes on a lower speed setting. Then scrape dough out with a dough scraper or wooden spoon onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Add just enough flour so the dough doesn’t stick to you or the work surface.
Place dough into your prepared oiled bowl, cover well with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm and without a draft for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
Prepare another large bowl with oil and set aside.
After 2 hours, scrape out dough onto a lightly floured surface- this “punches” out the air that the yeast has made.
Form into a ball and place in your second oiled bowl. Cover again with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place again to rise for 1-2 hours or until double in size.
Place a pizza stone or a large baking tray (oil tray well to prevent bread sticking!) in your oven, and pre-heat oven to 220 degrees C or 425 degrees F.
After dough has risen, remove your pizza stone (or baking tray) from the oven, tip dough directly onto the hot stone (/tray) and place into your oven. Before closing the door, spray or flick some water all around the inside of your oven. Then quickly close the door. This creates steam in the oven, giving you a great crust!
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow to cool (I know this is the hard part, but this is a really important step for the texture of your loaf.)
After some patience, dig in with some lovely butter or olive oil on the side!

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