Brown Bloomer Loaf

The ingredients:

♥ Strong Brown Flour (400g) ♥ Strong White Flour (170g) ♥ Salt (2 tsp) ♥ Soft Brown Sugar (1 tsp) ♥ Quick Action Yeast (2 tsp) ♥ Warm Water (13 fl oz) ♥ Milk (a splash) ♥

The recipe:

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Put the flour into an ovenproof dish, and warm in the oven for about ten minutes. Meanwhile take about 1/4 of the warm water, and stir in the sugar and the yeast until they dissolve. Leave the yeast to activate whilst your flour is warming.

After ten minutes put the flour into a large mixing bowl, and stir in the salt. Create a well in the middle of the flour, and pour in the yeast mixture with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the splash of milk and the rest of the water, stirring with the wooden spoon. The dough will begin to come together. Only use enough water to create a slightly sticky dough. Leave to rest for twenty minutes.

After the twenty minutes is up, knead the dough for about ten minutes. Put the dough in the bottom of a bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film, and put it in a warm part of the house. After about an hour and a half the dough should have doubled in size, although this will depend on how warm or cold your house is.

Knock the dough back. This literally means gently punching the dough to get rid of some of the air. Knead the dough for a second time, this time just for a couple of minutes.

Shape the loaf by pressing it into an oblong shape, and rolling it up so that it makes a sausage shape, with the seam under the loaf. Tuck the ends under. Place the dough on a baking sheet that has a sheet of baking parchment on top. Sprinkle some flour on the loaf, and score the loaf diagonally a few times with a sharp knife.

Gently cover with a damp tea-towel, or oiled cling film. You can elevate the tea towel / cling film with a couple of upturned mugs to give the loaf room to grow. Leave to rise until double in size, which should take around an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, (160°C fan oven) or Gas Mark 4. Cook your bread in the middle of the oven for about an hour. To test whether the loaf knock on the bottom with your knuckles. If it sounds hollow, it is done. If you want a crusty crust pop the loaf back into the oven for about ten minutes at Gas Mark 6.

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