- 5 fl oz water (warm, but no more than 110F)
- 1 t Sugar (Granulated)
- 2 t dried yeast
- 700 g Flour (Strong Bread) (warmed slightly)
- 1 T salt (or less to taste)
- 14 g butter
- 10 fl oz water (warm, but no more than 110F)
- Flour (Strong Bread) (as needed for dusting)
Pour the first lot of water into a bowl, then with a fork whisk in the sugar, followed by the dried yeast - and set this mixture aside to froth.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a bowl and rub in the butter. When the yeast is ready, pour it into a well made in the center of the flour, then pour in the remaining warm water. Now mix to a dough, starting off with a wooden spoon and using your hands in the final stages of mixing.
Wipe the bowl clean with the dough - adding a spot more water if there are any dry bits left - and transfer it to a flat work surface (there shouldn't be any need to flour this). Knead the dough for 10 minutes or until it develops a sheen and blisters under the surface (it should also be springy and elastic).
You can now either leave the dough on the counter covered by the upturned bowl or return the dough to the bowl and cover with a plastic bag or cling film. Leave it until it looks as though it has doubled in bulk - 1.5 to 2 hours at room temperature or 45-60 minutes in a warm place.
After that, knock the air out, then knead again for 5 minutes. Now divide the dough in half, pat each piece out to an oblong, then fold one end in to the center and fold the other end in on top. Put each one into a well-buttered 1-pound tin, sprinkle each loaf with a dusting of flour, then place them side by side in an oiled plastic bag until the dough rises above the tops of the tins (30 minutes in a warm place or an hour at room temperature). Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 8 / 450F / 230C.
Bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes or until they sound hollow when their bases are tapped. Return them, out of their tins, upside down to the oven to crisp the base and side crust. Then cool on a wire rack.
SJ Note 2 May 2010: Chris made this today with 70% whole wheat and 30% white flour, and it is quite excellent! Light, airy - even he's satisfied with it, and he's always such a harsh critic on his own work. I'm amazed that so much whole wheat flour is in it; it's light enough it could be the other way around (30% whole wheat and 70% white). Yay, a keeper!