I was making a simple white flour loaf for my hubby because he like a fluffy white, but I prefer a brown, a seeded or an ancient grain loaf, so I needed a simple recipe that I could use for both flours. I followed this one in my handwritten recipe notebook that I have used for years. This time I didn’t tweak, mix flours or add anything, just kept it simple.

I used a strong white flour from Alison’s for hub’s white which I picked up from Tecso’s and an eight grain flour from Matthew’s Cotswold Flours for the rustic loaf that I bulk ordered from Amazon.

I was so chuffed with the finished loaves I sent a photo to some friends and family. One of my friends requested the recipe so I thought I would pop it on the blog.

Ingredients:

500g of Strong Bread Flour.

7g sachet of yeast.

Scant teaspoon of fine sea salt.

Scant teaspoon of sugar.

1 tablespoon of organic sunflower oil.

300 ml /1/2 pint of hand hot water.

Method:

1.Sift the flour into a large basin and add the salt, the sugar and the yeast.

2. Pour hot water into a measuring jug and top up with cold water to 300ml /1/2 pint level. It needs to be hand hot, enough to activate the yeast when added to the flour mix but not too hot or it will destroy the yeast. Add the oil to the jug of water.

3. Pour the liquid into the bowl of flour and bring flour mix and liquid together using your hands until you have a nice sticky ball of dough then tip out onto a well floured board. Continue to knead the dough, push and stretch the dough out with one hand then bring the edge of the dough back to the center and stretch out again turning the dough with the other hand a little turn each time. Add a sprinkle of flour each time the dough gets too sticky until you end up with a soft springy dough.

4. After about 5-10 minutes of kneading, the dough will be soft and springy, return to the bowl and cover with a clean tea towel, place in a warm airing cupboard if you have one. I do not have a warm cupboard in this house so I use a brewing heat pad, (pinched from hub). These can be found on most wine making sites. Leave to rise to double size, approximately one hour.

5. Turn the dough out and knock back, which means to knead again knocking out the air, for about 5 minutes and this time shape to how you want it to end up, you could place it in a lightly oiled 900 g / 2lb bread tin for a conventional tin shaped loaf or leave as a round on a lightly oiled pizza stone or baking tray, I like to use a deodorized coconut oil for this. Then take a sharp knife and make a few shallow cuts across the top of the dough to allow it to fan out a little a it rises. Cover lightly and place back in a warm draught free place. Leave to rise again, approximately 45 minutes or until double the size.

6. Meanwhile heat the oven so it is nice and hot 200 C / 180 C fan oven or gas mark 4. Make sure you can place your tin, stone or tray onto the middle shelf without hinderance. When ready place your tin, stone or tray into the hot oven and close the door gently, leave without opening the doors if you can to bake for around 30 minutes, then check to see if browning evenly and make any adjustments needed to get a nice golden colour all over. After 35 minutes the bread should be ready to take out the oven, lift the bread out of its tin or off of its stone or tray and tap the bottom, if it sounds hollow and bread feels light the loaf is ready, if it still sounds doughy or feels heavy place it back in the oven to finish off, you can even turn the bread out and place upside down directly onto the shelf if the top is done but the bottom need more time.

7. Turn the bread out and leave to cool on a wire rack. Slice when cooled or just tear a nice warm chunk off, lovely to have with a bowl of soup.

Hub and I enjoyed our bread still warm with a fresh green salad and some red cabbage which we jarred up in November and has just finished fermenting, delicious!.