This fills a 4lb loaf tin
- 500g wholemeal flour
- 500g white bread flour (sifted)
- 20g salt
- 10g bread yeast
- 2 handfuls of sunflower seeds (optional)
- Tablespoon of olive oil + a little extra
- 700ml warm water
Put all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Make sure you keep the salt separate from the yeast, otherwise you will kill your yeast. Carefully mix the dry ingredients together.
Add the olive oil and slowly add the water and mix together to form a dough. The dough should be quite sticky, but still workable without getting it stuck to your hands. Add more or less water depending on how your dough feels. I find it varies slightly every time.
Tip out onto your worktop and knead for 10 minutes. I don’t bother to flour or oil the worktop, as its not really necessary. If you can get your technique down it is possible to spend only 3 – 4 minutes kneading.
Here is a short video of how I like to kneed my dough. Stretch it out, then roll it back in and give it a 90 degree turn, before stretching it out again. This works quite well for a slightly sticky dough.
Put your dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover loosely with a plastic bag to stop it drying out. Place somewhere warm, I usually put it near our wood-burner. Leave to prove for an hour or two until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
Tip your dough back out onto your work surface and carefully deflate it by poking it with your fingers. Reshape and place it in a lightly greased loaf tin. Cover loosely with a plastic bag and leave for another hour to prove again. The loaf should expand and fill the tin.
Put your loaf in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes before dropping the temperature to 200 degrees if the crust is looking pale, 180 degrees if the crust is noticeably browning, and 170 if it seems to be browning quickly. Cook for a further 50 mins.
Remove from the tin and leave to cool fully before cutting