Put the flour (300g), yeast (1 tsp) and salt (1 tsp) into a large bowl - Put the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl to prevent the salt killing the yeast before it's had a chance to work.
Make a well in the centre and add half the water (75ml), mix well with your hands.
Keep adding water a little bit at a time until all of the flour has been incorporated into the dough. The dough should be slightly sticky but not sloppy - You may not need to full 150ml listed, keep adding a little water at a time until all the flour is incorporated into the dough. If you accidentally add too much water add a sprinkle of flour and combine until you have the right consistency.
Spread a little of the olive oil onto a clear work surface and knead the dough in the oil, keep adding a little oil until the full 1 tbsp has been incorporated - The olive oil helps to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface and adds flavour to the loaf. The dough can sometimes get sticky while kneading, keep persevering, it will improve, and don't be tempted to add more flour or you'll end up with a dry, heavy loaf.
Keep kneading the dough until it is smooth, springy and if you stretch it in front of a light source you'll be able to see the light coming through without the dough breaking.
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to prove for 1-1½ hours (or overnight in the fridge) until the dough has doubled in size - The important thing here is the dough doubling in size, not the time. The amount of time the dough needs to prove can vary according to the temperature of the room, so if it's not doubled in size, leave it a bit longer.
Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and knead a couple of times to knock out all of the air.
Shape the dough into an oval shape and place on the tin you're planning to cook the loaf on.
Loosely cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for a further hour until it has doubled in size.
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan
One the loaf has doubled in size, sprinkle with a little flour and using a very sharp knife make a few shallow diagonal cuts across the top, being careful not to knock out any of the air - These cuts are important as when the bread cooks air will escape. The cuts allow this to happen. If there are no cuts the bread will crack during baking.
Bake in the oven for roughly 30 minutes. To check if the loaf is cooked, turn the loaf over and tap the bottom - it should sound hollow.
Once the loaf is cooked leave to cool on a wire rack
Suitable for freezing.
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Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 155mg | Potassium: 22mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Any nutritional information provided is the estimated nutritional information per serving. Please refer to my guide to Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen nutritional information if you would like to learn more about how this is calculated.