There are not many foods that more homely and comforting than crusty white bread. Its also one of the easiest types of bread to bake, all you need is flour, salt water and yeast. This crunchy bread with flax seeds is slightly better for you as the addition of crushed flax seeds gives you not only a lovely subtle nutty flavor but also a little dose of heart healthy omega 3 essential fatty acids.
The key to making a good textured crusty bread is to make a very wet, or slack, dough. At first this dough can be frustratingly sticky to handle but after a few rounds of stretching and folding you will see how elastic and robust the dough becomes. This stretching and folding of the dough during the fermentation will help to strengthen the dough to prevent it from spreading in the oven and your loaf coming out all flat.
I regularly bake this bread as either a classic round shaped loaf or an oval shape, both work beautifully, so you just need to decide which shape is best for your uses. Its essential to bake this bread with steam to get that nice crusty crust. Luckily you do not need a fancy bakers oven, you just need to place a tray of cold water into the oven with your loaves and this will provide plenty of steam for your bread.
Recipe for crusty white bread with flax seeds
1kg all purpose flour
750g warm water
10g instant dried yeast
75g crushed flax seeds
- Come all the ingredients (except for the flax seeds) in the mixing bowl of your electric mixer and knead to combine using the dough hook, for 5-10 minutes.
- The dough is very wet, use your hand and scoop up the dough from under neath and then slap it back down the bowl. Repeat this 10 or so times to really stretch the dough.
- Cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
- Then go back and stretch and fold the dough again, whilst keeping it in the bowl. Now add the flax seeds and knead to distribute them as evenly as you can/want.
- Cover the dough and leave at room temperature for 1.2 hours until more than doubled, even tripled in size.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and divide into 2.
- Shape you dough balls into either rounds or ovals and place in floured proving baskets.
- Leave the dough to re-rise for 35-35 minutes until almost doubled in size. Pre-heat your oven to full heat, 250 degrees C if your oven goes that high, include your baking stone if you are using one.
- When you dough has almost doubled it is ready to bake. Place a roasting tray of water on the oven flour to provide steam during your bake.
- Slowly tip your loaves out of their baskets onto you baking stone or tray, slash the surface a few times to allow for a good oven spring and place immediately in the pre-heated steamy oven.
- Bake at 250 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 190 and bake for a further 35 minutes or longer if you like a really dark crust.