Richard Bertinet’s White Bread

This is the best white bread I’ve eaten in ages. You can either mix it by hand using the “French way” of ‘kneading’ which uses the stretch and fold technique or throw ingredients into your stand mixer and let it do the kneading for you. I have made this bread ten times, by hand. The first time I tried it, my countertop was a sticky gluey mess, with sticky dough flying in every direction. I was however, determined to learn so I made it again and again until I learnt how to do it. I can now slap and stretch the dough in five minutes flat. The bread is soft and airy on the inside and nicely chewy on the crust. Everybody in my house eats it. The other day we ate two loaves in one day. I wish you all the best if you decide to try this technique and recipe. I highly recommend it.

with the rounded end of the scraper turn the rested dough onto a lightly floured countertop. Divide the dough into two equal portions and mould each into a loaf shape (watch the video).

Place the shaped loaves into the prepared loaf pans, cover with a lint free dish towel or cling film or plastic bag and set aside in a draft free place for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. (I am still learning how to shape the loaves, professionally-not yet there!)

Sprinkle and rub a little flour over the top of each risen bread

Place the bread into the oven and using the spray bottle, give the loaves three big square of water, then bake at 475ºF (250ºC) for ten minutes. Reduce the temperature to 425ºF (220ºC) and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer on a cooling rack to cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Please watch Richard Bertinet’s video before making the bread

Richard Bertinet's White Bread

Original Recipe: Dough: simple contemporay Bread by Richard Bertinet

Preparation time: 20 minutes; Resting time: 2 hours; Baking time: 30 minutes; Makes: two 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10cm) or 2 x 450g (1Ib) loaves

Ingredients for Richard Bertinet’s White Dough

  • 10g fresh yeast or 1½ teaspoons instant yeast or 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 625g (22oz, 5 cups) white bread flour
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt (I use 1½ teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional when using instant yeast)
  • 435g lukewarm water (1¾ cup + 1 tablespoon)
  • You will also need a spray bottle filled with cold water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 475ºF (250ºC) ten minutes before using. Grease two 8 x 4 inch (20 x 10cm) loaf pans and set aside.
  2. Make Richard Bertinet’s white dough, by hand (steps 2 and 3) or in a mixer (step 4) and let the dough rest for 1 hour (step 5).
  3. Moulding and resting the risen dough: with the rounded end of the scraper turn the rested dough onto a lightly floured countertop. Divide the dough into two equal portions and mould each into a loaf shape (watch the video). Place the shaped loaves into the prepared loaf pans, cover with a lint free dish towel or cling film or plastic bag and set aside in a draft free place for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  4. Baking the bread: Sprinkle and rub a little flour over the top of each risen bread. Place the bread in the oven and using the spray bottle, give the loaves three big squirts of water, then bake at 475ºF (250ºC) for ten minutes. Reduce the temperature to 425ºF (220ºC) and continue baking for another 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Remove the loaves from the oven and transfer on a cooling rack to cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.

Points to Note

  1. It’s highly recommended that you use fresh yeast. I have never used fresh yeast because I’m still figuring out where to buy it. I used Fleischmann’s instant yeast.
  2. To freeze the bread: partially bake the bread (10 minutes at 475ºF (250ºC)  and ten minutes at 425ºF (220ºC) then cool it completely. Wrap with parchment and seal in a plastic food bag.
  3. To bake partially baked frozen bread: put the bread in a cold oven and set to 400ºF (200ºC) and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the oven reaches 400ºF (200ºC). If baking in an oven preheated to 400ºF, then bake 8-10 minutes.
  4. Last Updated: April 18, 2018

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Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

8 thoughts

  1. So, just discovered Richard Bertinet (James Martin show) – followed his 1kg strong white flour/730 g water etc recipe (in his video he made three smallish white loaves and a Fougasse) – there was no way, without extra flour, that the stretch and fold technique was going to turn the sticky mess into an elastic dough. I am 6’1″ and 19 stone and I showed that dough who was boss for 20 mins – eventually it ended up in the mixer with another two heaped tablespoons of flour. It is resting as I type but I suspect I have over-worked the dough now, only time will tell. I have read countless posts regarding giving it enough time to work, but 20 mins ? In all that time I must have had 250 grams of dough that never ever left my hands !!
    I am obviously doing something wrong, and I cant wait for lockdown to end so I can get myself down to Bath and on one of Richard’s courses !!

    1. Hi there Geoff
      I don’t think you can overwork bread dough. Probably not. I have tried this bread many many times and what works best for me is is 0.7 level hydration so that means you should have added not more than 700g water. Also the amount of water will depend on the flour. Sometimes even just changing a bag of flour of the same brand causes a difference. The first time I ever stretched and slapped the dough it was a huge mess. I was so frustrated. It took 15 minutes and my whole kitchen wall was splattered with sticky mushy dough. I adjusted the water after that. Try it again with about 650g water if it seems too dry add the rest of the water slowly until you work out the hydration level for your flour.
      All the same how did it go? I am waiting for your feedback. Thanks and stay safe!!!!!
      Liz

      1. Hi Liz, I omitted to say I didn’t follow your recipe to the letter, it was a RB video I saw on Youtube – although I now realise the flour I used said “very” strong bread flour – I wonder if that made much difference ?. The end result produced a small loaf that was edible when toasted ….. just !! I had a good 1st rise but the second rise in the bread tins wasn’t as good. after 1.5 hrs they (two loaves) had risen but not above the rim of the tin – I cooked one at that stage and left the other for another 30 mins. Neither loaf had any oven spring whatsoever. The first loaf had the appearance of small loaf but was very dense – it tasted ok though !! The second loaf, with the extra 30 mins proving – had an initial “spring” of a about a centimetre and then collapsed inwards, resulting in a slightly concaved top. The top was overcooked in the end, bordering on burnt, (It was a very thin layer of dough with a large air pocket underneath it)
        I won’t give up and I will, as soon as I can source some more yeast, give it another go using your suggestions. Thank you for the reply, Stay safe.

        1. 1 think the other problem is he uses very little yeast in that demo video. I would probably add 2tsp of instant yeast or 21/2 teaspoons active dry yeast. I bought yeast at a bulk store (in those little bins). I am not able to get any bottled yeast in any supermarket. Everybody is baking now, out of boredom. I can’t even get all purpose flour in my local store. Anyway wish you all the best in your baking and stay safe!
          Liz

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