Paul Hollywood's white loaf

(154 ratings)
White loaf
White loaf
  • Serves: 15

  • Prep time:

    (plus proving time)
  • Cooking time:

  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Costs: Cheap as chips

Top baker and Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood knows a thing or two about bread. This classic loaf has a lovely fluffy texture inside with a good crunchy crust. Perfect for a leisurely weekend breakfast or to make chunky, rustic sandwiches out of. We think it is so good that it is even super tasty just spread with fresh butter as a filling snack.


  • 500g/1lb 1oz strong white bread flour, plus a little extra flour for finishing
  • 40g/1½oz soft butter
  • 12g/2 sachets fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • About 300ml/10¾fl oz tepid water (warm, not cold – about body temperature)
  • A little olive or sunflower oil

Watch our special video interview to see Paul's top tip for making bread


  1. Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the butter. Add the yeast at one side of the bowl and add the salt at the other, otherwise the salt will kill the yeast. Stir all the ingredients with a spoon to combine.
  2. Add half of the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add water a little at a time, combining well, until you’ve picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all of the water, or you may need to add a little more – you want a dough that is well combined and soft, but not sticky or soggy. Mix with your fingers to make sure all of the ingredients are combined and use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl. Keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.
  3. Use about a teaspoon of oil to lightly grease a clean work surface (using oil instead of flour will keep the texture of the dough consistent). Turn out your dough onto the greased work surface (make sure you have plenty of space).
  4. Fold the far edge of the dough into the middle of the dough, then turn the dough by 45 degrees and repeat. Do this several times until the dough is very lightly coated all over in olive oil.
  5. Now use your hands to knead the dough: push the dough out in one direction with the heel of your hand, then fold it back on itself. Turn the dough by 90 degrees and repeat. Kneading in this way stretches the gluten and makes the dough elastic. Do this for about 4 or 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. Work quickly so that the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands – if it does get too sticky you can add a little flour to your hands.
  6. Clean and lightly oil your mixing bowl and put the dough back into it. Cover with a damp tea towel or lightly oiled cling film and set it aside to prove. This gives the yeast time to work: the dough should double in size. This should take around one hour, but will vary depending on the temperature of your room (don’t put the bowl in a hot place or the yeast will work too quickly).
  7. Line a baking tray with baking or silicone paper (not greaseproof).
  8. Once the dough has doubled in size scrape it out of the bowl to shape it. The texture should be bouncy and shiny. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back by kneading it firmly to 'knock' out the air. Use your hand to roll the dough up, then turn by 45 degrees and roll it up again. Repeat several times. Gently turn and smooth the dough into a round loaf shape.
  9. Place the loaf onto the lined baking tray, cover with a tea towel or lightly oiled cling film and leave to prove until it’s doubled in size. This will take about an hour, but may be quicker or slower depending on how warm your kitchen is.
  10. Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C fan/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Put an old, empty roasting tin into the bottom of the oven.
  11. After an hour the loaf should have proved (risen again). Sprinkle some flour on top and very gently rub it in. Use a large, sharp knife to make shallow cuts (about 1cm/½in deep) across the top of the loaf to create a diamond pattern.
  12. Put the loaf (on its baking tray) into the middle of the oven. Pour cold water into the empty roasting tray at the bottom of the oven just before you shut the door – this creates steam which helps the loaf develop a crisp and shiny crust.
  13. Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes.
  14. The loaf is cooked when it’s risen and golden. To check, take it out of the oven and tap it gently underneath – it should sound hollow. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Nutritional information per portion

  • Low
  • Med
  • High
  • Calories 137(kcal)
  • Fat 2.6g
  • Saturates 1.5g
  • Sugars 0.4g
  • Salt 0.6g

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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Average rating

  • 3
(154 ratings)

Your comments


US conversion: 3 1/2 cups strong white bread flour (this is All Purpose flour with 1tsp gluten PER CUP flour), plus a little extra flour for finishing 1 1/2 oz soft butter 3 tsp (any yeast but let it proof/bloom if not fast acting/instant) 2 tsp salt About 1 1/4 cups tepid water (warm, not cold – about body temperature) A little olive or sunflower oil Use bread maker for initial mixing to avoid hand working the dough.


ok so i tried it with half the salt, it over proved and deflated when i slashed it, tried it again, same happened so it's back to the original recipe for another go


Just tried this today, it is amazing, i used the proving function in my oven which worked a treat, i might reduce the salt slightly next time but other than that this is better than any shop bought bread i have had


Clearly didn't plan for certain types of fool.........


I was so pleased with this, I took my bread maker back for a refund of £122, this bread is easy to make and the taste is far better then any I have tasted from shop or bread maker I have not got Paul's book on bread

Mandy Gsell

you should tap it on the BOTTOM not the TOP to see if sounds hollow.

Mandy Gsell

It states clearly that is 2 PACKETS of fast Action DRIED yeast which equals 12-14 gm depending which make you buy.

Clare Barker

I have made this twice and it was ok, think I needed to bake the second one for a little longer as it was a bit doughy, even though I tapped it on the top and it sounded hollow. I think I need stronger arms :0)

Linda Every

I am very pleased with my first attempt at making bread.. Thank you Paul Hollywood for an easy peasy recipe with clear instructions ... My husband said it was nicer than any bread I have made in my breadmaker.. Linda Every

Chris Rodgers

How can this be a fool-proof recipe when neither the quantity not the type of yeast is mentioned?

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