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Author Notes: A low-maintenance recipe for the perfect toast and sandwich loaf, and a reason to embrace the daily bread. With an overnight rise that takes the work out of kneading, you can actually just get up in the morning with a risen dough waiting for you. —Luke Baker
Makes: one loaf
grams flour (white, wholewheat, rye or spelt)
teaspoon fine salt
grams sunflower or pumpkin seeds, kibbled grains, oats, polenta, chopped nuts etc.
milliliters hand-temperature water
teaspoon active dried yeast
- DAY ONE. Add the yeast or sourdough to the water along with a good pinch of flour, stir, then set aside for ten minutes. Stir together the flour with the salt, along with any other grains, seeds or flavourings.
- When the yeast has dissolved into the water, pour it into the bowl of flour and start stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. This is quite a wet dough so don’t worry if it’s sticky, you just want to make sure there are no dry patches of flour and it’s all thoroughly mixed. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and set aside overnight.
- DAY TWO. The next morning, the dough should look bigger and airier. It may have risen and collapsed, or it might have just grown slightly, but as long as there’s been some sign of activity you’re good to go. It’s time to knead the dough, but we’re taking a slightly different approach. To knead the dough you’re going to stretch it in all four directions: on the farthest side of the bowl from you, dig under the dough with wet hands, pull it away, then fold it back on itself. Repeat this action on the right-most side, the side closest to you, and the left-most side. Do this four-fold round once or twice more, until you have a stretchy looking lump of dough in the middle, hopefully looking pretty cohesive.
- Grease a baking tin or line with baking paper (i.e. make sure all metal surfaces that the bread could touch are greased), or line a flat tray for a round loaf. take your risen dough and do one more set of four-folds (like you did before), then pick up the dough and dump it into the tin seam-side down. Alternatively, for a free-form loaf, shape your loaf with floured hands on a floury bench using the same four folds, until it’s a smooth tight ball. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise somewhere warm until doubled, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
- About half an hour before your dough is fully risen (you can just guess this) preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius.
- Carefully place the risen loaf in the oven and turn the heat down to 200. Bake for 30 minutes, then leave to cool before slicing. Stores best wrapped in brown paper or a tea towel and kept at room temperature