Craven College’s Jamie Fletcher provides another of his favourite recipes. He has more than 10 years’ experience working in bars and restaurants, including a 15-month stint as a sous-chef in the south of France

BREAD is not that difficult. It's messy and needs some time put aside to do it properly, but it isn't that hard. This recipe should leave you with a loaf in just under three hours.

This basic recipe comprises four ingredients - flour, water, yeast and salt. You can add extras if you wish - chopped olives, chopped nuts, handfuls of herbs etc. but this is a basic recipe which will give you a good-quality no-nonsense loaf.

Use only white flour if you'd like an all-purpose white loaf or substitute 200g rye flour if you like a chewier, slightly denser loaf. You could also use wholemeal or spelt flour - this gives a nuttier flavour and a less dense crumb. Remember that you may need to add extra water if using wholemeal flour in order to fully hydrate the mix.

Feel free to vary the proportions used in the mixture but 800g white flour to 200g other flour gives a tasty but not too heavy loaf.


1kg strong white bread flour

750 ml warm water

2 x 7g sachets dried yeast

15g salt


Tip all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and add nearly all of the water. Mix well with a wooden spoon. If the dough looks too dry, or if you've used any wholemeal flour, then add a couple of splashes of warm water. At this point you should have a very sticky mess.

Tip it out onto a floured surface and knead for about ten minutes. Don't over-exert yourself or throw the dough around - just fold, turn and squeeze to stretch the mixture. You should end up soft, pliable and slightly shiny lump of dough. Shape into a nice round ball and place into a clean mixing bowl. Cover with a dry cloth and leave somewhere warm and out of draughts. An airing cupboard is ideal if you have one.

Leave the dough to double in size - this should take between 45 minutes and an hour. Now turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knock back - this involves kneading the dough again, this time for about three or four minutes.

At this point you need to decide whether you're making one huge loaf or two smaller ones. For a large loaf shape the dough into a ball and put back in the bowl to rise again until doubled in size - around 45 to 60 minutes. Otherwise for smaller loaves (the size of the loaf in the picture), cut the dough in two equal pieces, place in two clean bowls and leave to rise as before until doubled in size.

Meanwhile heat the oven to Gas 8 (230 degrees C/450 degrees F). If you have a pizza stone, then put it in the oven now. Otherwise a large baking tray will do.

Once the dough has risen remove very carefully from the bowls (don't knock it back again this time) and gently place onto the pizza stone or baking sheets. Slash the top of the dough with a knife and scatter with flour.

Bake for around 45 minutes - the bread should be well risen, have a good crust and feel hollow when tapped. Leave to cool before slicing.