650g good bread flour (white or wholemeal or mixed)
15g dried active yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
150 ml warm water
2 teaspoons table salt
Drizzle olive oil
275ml warm milk
1 dessert spoon honey
Handful of seeds of your choice (sunflower/pumpkin/sesame/poppy)
2 medium loaf tins
2 tin liners (optional but helpful)
1 large mixing bowl
2 small measuring jugs that can be heated
Oven heated to 200c
- First 150ml warm water (tap warm is fine) into a small jug and dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar by stirring well into the water. Sprinkle over 15g dried active yeast and stir well. Place this jug in a warm place, I use the warm black sides of the aga for this.
- Leave for 15 minutes for the yeast to grow.
- Meanwhile weigh out 650g good bread flour into a large bowl and add 2 teaspoons of table salt into the flour, 1 dessert spoon of honey, also add 275ml of warm milk (body temperature, a few seconds in the microwave so it’s not hot and not cold)
- When the yeast has grown add this to the flour and pull it loosely together.
- Leave this mixture for 10 minutes to relax, (and make yourself a cup of tea!)
- Then kneed for up to 10 minutes by hand on a warm, dry, clean, lightly floured work surface.
- When this dough has a smooth texture with some air bubbles growing in it then it’s time to drizzle some Olive oil into your hands and rub all over the dough and place back into the large bowl (it needs space to grow) and cover with cling film or a damp teatowel.
- Place this bowl in a warm place (around 25c) for 2 hours until it has proved.
- When it has clearly doubled in size punch the dough down (called ‘knocking it back)
- Then kneed it again for a few minutes this time and shape it into the 2 bread tins (using a tin liner means you are going to get it back out of the tin again at the end)
- Leave the tins with cling film over them to prove again, probably another hour, warm up the oven during the end of this time
- When they have risen again take a sharp bread knife and slash the top of the loaves in a crisis cross pattern and wash the top of the loaf lightly in milk and sprinkle seeds over it of your choice
- Then as you are placing the tins into the top of your hot oven also throw in a cup of cold water into the bottom of the oven to make a blast of steam to give the loaf a good crust.
- Bake for 20 minutes and take out and check the base by tapping it, it should sound hollow, if not back into the oven for another 5 or 10 minutes.
- Then place on a cooling tray and cover in a clean dry teatowel for 2 hours before eating (if you can wait that long!)