Jamie Oliver's Basic Bread Recipe
1 Dissolve the yeast and honey or sugar in half the tepid water.
2 On a clean surface or in a large bowl, make a pile of flour and salt. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the dissolved yeast mixture. With four fingers of one hand, make circular movements from the centre moving outwards, slowly bringing in more and more of the flour, until all the yeast mix is soaked up. Pour the other half of the tepid water into the centre, and gradually incorporate all the flour to make a moist dough. (Certain flours may need a little more water, so adjust the quantitites.)
3 Roll, push and fold the dough over and over for five minutes, to develop the gluten and structure of the dough. If any of the dough sticks to your hands, just rub them together with a little flour.
4 Flour both your hands well, and lightly flour the top of the dough. Make it into a roundish shape, and place on a baking tray. Deeply score the dough with a knife, allowing it to relax and prove with ease. Leave it to prove until it's doubled in size. Ideally you want a warm, moist, draught-free place for the quickest prove, for example near a warm cooker, in the airing cupboard or just in a warmish room, and you can even cover it with clingfilm, if you want to speed things up. This proving process improves the flavour and texture of the dough, and should take around 40 minutes, depending on the conditions.
5 When the dough has doubled in size, you need to knock the air out of it by bashing it around for a minute. Shape it into whatever shape you want - round, flat, filled, trayed up or tinned up - and leave it to prove for a second time until it doubles in size again. Don't feel a need to rush through this, because the second proving time will give it a lovely, delicate soft texture.
6 Now you want to keep all the air inside the loaf, so don't knock it. Gently place it in the preheated oven and don't slam the door. Bake according to the time and temperature given in the recipe variations. You can tell if your bread is cooked by tapping its bottom (take it out of the tin first!) If it sounds hollow, it's cooked. If not, put it back in the oven for a little longer. Place on a rack to cool.