John Allison won first prize with this tasty bread in 2013 and also the Best Bread Cup/
Into the warm water (it should be at blood heat [37 C or 98 F] and just feel warm when felt with a finger) stir in the sugar. Stir gently and when dissolved put in the dried yeast. Stir to mix evenly. Leave for the yeast to begin to multiply while the other ingredients are prepared.
Warm a mixing bowl with hot water, then pour away water and put in the flours, salt and the olive oil. (The original recipe used lard, but olive oil makes the bread suitable for vegetarians and vegans).
Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the yeast, sugar and water. I mix with a spoon until the flour is mixed with the wet ingredients.
Either knead in a mixer according to the machine’s instructions or by hand. Replace the kneaded dough into the mixing bowl, cover with oiled clingfilm or a teatowel and put in a warm place to rise.
When the dough has risen and is about double its original size (the rising process takes about 1 to 1.5 hours), remove it from the bowl and knead it again to “knock it back”. Divide the dough into pieces. Shape each piece and place into baking tins. I use three hand made tins, passed down the family, which are oval shaped and take one third of the dough each. Again cover the tins and replace in a warm place to again double in size (proving).
When ready put the tins into a preheated oven (Temperature 230 C – 450 F – Gas mark 8) for 30-35 minutes. When done the top should be brown and the base should sound hollow when tapped. Turn out the loaves and cool on a wire rack.
The organic wholemneal flour is stoneground slowly and gently in a watermill first recorded in 1575 (rebuilt 1747 ). More details and recipes at www.bacheldremill.co.uk
John Allison September 2013