Bread

For two loaves

  • 675g flour (wholemeal bread flour/strong white bread flour, roughly 2/3 wholemeal 1/3 white)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 100g seeds
  • 500ml warm water
  • 1 tsp salt

Bake at 220 C for 25 mins.

For one, slightly larger, loaf 

  • 400g flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 handfuls seeds
  • 290 ml warm water
  • 1 tsp salt

Seeds can be sesame, sunflower, pumpkin etc.

Weigh the flour and mix in all the other dry ingredients. Put water in a jug and get to the right temperature with water from the kettle and measure the right amount. Add to flour and mix with a wooden spoon until it is mostly holding together. Put some flour on your work surface and tip the dough onto it. Then kneed for about 4 mins. Put the dough back in the bowl and leave in a warm place to rise, covered by a clean tea towel, until it has doubled in size – generally between 1 and 2 hours.

Oil your bread tins. Then tip the dough out onto your work surface again and kneed it briefly. Divide into two with a scraper or a knife and shape into loaves, leaving the cut edge up as it will be a bit sticky. Put the shaped loaves in the tins but don’t push down. Leave to rise in a warm place covered by the tea towel. Also, turn your oven on so that it will be at the right heat when the loaves have risen. Oven temperature should be hot – 220 C is good on a fan oven.

You can clean the work surface and the bowl now – or at least leave to soak. Try not to get flour onto sponges as they will end up going mouldy – better to use a plastic brush for the bowl and kitchen paper for the surfaces.

When the loaves have risen so that the dough is just above the top of the tin, they are ready to go in. In a warming drawer this takes only about 20-25 mins. It could be twice as long if it’s just room temperature but it’s worth keeping an eye on them. If they rise too far gently push the dough down a little bit before putting them in the oven. It will make the loaves look a bit messy, but it is better than an over-risen loaf which will be very crumbly.

They need about 25 mins in the oven. They should look nice and toasty, but also, when you take them out of the tin and tap them underneath they should sound hollow. Cool them on a rack if possible or prop them up against something – if they are sitting on a flat surface before they are cool they will go soggy. But on the other hand, the crusts go a bit hard if they cool naturally, better to cover them with the tea towel again. Don’t put in plastic until they are completely cool.

If you want to freeze some of the bread wait until it is cool, then cut it so you can use it one slice at a time. Put it in a bag but make sure the slices aren’t pressed together too much. The first time you go to the frozen bread it is worth separating the slices a bit by banging the bag on the counter. After that they should stay separate.