This is a very easy and delicious recipe i love to use!
4 cups flour, white or whole wheat
pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil (for Italian loaf)
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 2/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
Stir sugar/honey into warm water until dissolved. Add yeast, stir with wooden spoon and leave to sit for 5-15 minutes or until frothy.
Sift flour and salt into bowl. Make a well in the center, add your butter. Pour in yeast mixture. Mix together with your hands until you get a rough dough. There will be some flour/pieces of dough that refuse to stick together, that's okay, they'll easily be worked in. Place your dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and consistent. Return to a cleaned, oiled bowl (use olive oil) and cover with a damp tea towel until your dough has roughly doubled in size. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this can take anywhere from 50 minutes to 2 hours.
Return your dough to a floured work surface and knead it again for 3-5 minutes. Form a loaf, seam side down, and cut five diagonal slashes across the loaf. Brush with soft butter or olive oil, cover with damp tea towel and leave it to rise until doubled in size. If you want to brush your loaf with milk or egg white, do this just before you put it in the oven. You can add oregano, slivers of garlic or rosemary to the top of the loaf just before you put it in the oven.
Bake in a 375-400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped from the bottom.
If you want to make 2 loaves, simply cut the dough in half before you knead it for a second time, cover the surface in olive oil, wrap in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. The dough will keep for 2 days. When you want to use it, unwrap, let it come to room temperature, knead it and form it into a loaf.