- 8 g instant dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
- 400 g flour
- 2 t fine salt
- Olive oil
1. Dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the flour and salt. Mix to combine, cover with a clean tea towel and prove in a warm place for 20 minutes, or until doubled in size.
2. Knead in the bowl using the slapping method. Knock dough back into the bowl, then in a folding fashion, scoop the wet dough towards you with a cupped hand, gather another handful and repeat. This creates bubbles of air. Cover generously with olive oil and allow to rise for a further 20 minutes.
3. Turn out onto a floured work surface, stretch and fold and tuck into a rough ball.
4. Oil a cast-iron 26cm cast iron pan pan (this is crucial for the perfect crust). Place the dough into the pan and make dimples in the dough using your fingertips. Drizzle with more olive oil.
5. Bake at 200°C for 25–30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Ordinary cake flour works best if you’re looking for a light, soft loaf. You can use bread flour but the result will be more chewy.
- A round pan rather than a baking tray means less working with the dough, which in turn means lighter, more airy bread. You can even let the dough do its second rise in the pan, to reduce handling further. Great tips from @nancysilverton!
- Cast iron pans retain heat better than metal trays, ensuring even baking and crispy crusts.
- Oil your fingers before adding the dimples to avoid sticking.
- If you’re adding toppings like olives, don’t layer them on top of the bread – it’ll weigh the bread down and make it dense. Press them down into the dough so the bread bakes up around them and stays light and fluffy.