In a large bowl add the water, and sprinkle the yeast on top, leave for a couple of minutes for the yeast to start dissolving. Add the rest of the ingredients, and with your hand gently bring the ingredients together to form a dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface, and ‘work’ the dough, pushing with the heel of your hand, then folding it over on itself. As the dough is worked, the glutens are formed, and its appearance will become smoother and less ‘shaggy’. The dough will become less sticky and workable.
Place the ball of dough in a greased bowl, and cover. Leave to rest for around an hour.
After the resting period, the glutens will have continued to form, but will have relaxed slightly, so a little shaping will be needed to bring the dough together into a tight ball. Rolling the dough up into a rough ‘sausage’ then bringing into a ball will help form a tension on the surface of the dough, which will help with the structure of the loaf.
Place smooth-side-up in a lightly oiled loaf tin, or smooth-side-down in a banneton (a banneton can easily be improvised using a basket or dish lined with a tea towel). Dust the banneton (or teatowel in a basket) with gluten-free flour such as rice flour, this prevents sticking – regular flour will form glutens which stick the dough to the banneton. Cover with (compostable!) cling wrap, and leave to rise in a warm place. The length of time this takes will of course vary depending on the temperature of the room, but you’re looking for the dough to almost double in size.
When risen, and your oven has pre-heated to the hottest temperature setting (usually around 250C in a domestic oven) bake your tinned loaf for around 40 minutes. Slashing the surface of your loaf with a sharp knife just before it goes into the oven will help the bread to expand, and give a pleasing ‘oven spring’. If using a banneton, tip out the dough onto a preheated oven tray, then slash the top. Using a bread cloche will give better results, trapping the steam, and heat around the loaf as it cooks. This can be recreated using a large up-turned pan over the loaf as it cooks.
The bread will be firm to the touch, well risen, and browned on top. If you have a probe thermometer you are looking for around 200F.
Turn out onto a cooling rack, and don’t be tempted to cut into it until cooled! Cutting into a hot loaf, allows steam to escape; the texture of the loaf is much better if you can resist getting stuck into for as long as it takes to cool down.
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