Overnight White Loaf
Servings 1 loaf
- 500 g strong white bread flour plus extra for dusting
- 10 g fine sea salt
- 3 g instant dried yeast 1 tsp or slightly less than half a 7g sachet
- 330 ml lukewarm water
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast. Stir together using either a sturdy spoon or, your hands. Bit by bit gently mix in the lukewarm water until a shaggy dough forms.
- Place a damp tea towel or shower cap over the rim of the bowl and leave in a cosy draught-free place to prove for hours – overnight is best.
- Once your dough has risen and is bubbling away, tip it on to a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a ball – a well-floured plastic dough scraper really helps here – making sure there is a light coating of flour all over.
- Place the shaped dough on a sheet of parchment paper, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, cosy place to rest for 1 hour.
- Halfway through the resting time, preheat the oven to 210C fan/gas mark 9 or as high as it will go. Put a large cast-iron casserole dish with a lid and a heatproof handle into the hot oven for 30 minutes to heat up.
- Once the casserole dish is good and hot, carefully take it out of the oven and lift off the lid. Uncover the dough and, using the parchment paper, lift and then lower the dough into the heated casserole dish. Using a sharp knife, razor blade or scissors, score the top of the dough with slashes in any pattern you like – one long slash, a cross, a square or even a smiley face.
- Pour a couple of tablespoons of water inside the casserole around the dough, replace the lid and put the dish back in the hot oven. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid to reveal your magnificent loaf, then continue to bake uncovered for a further 10 minutes to get a nice, golden crust or 15 minutes if you like your loaf a bit darker.
- Place the loaf on a wire rack and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes.