1 cup wholemeal flour
2 cups white flour
¼ tsp granulated yeast
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 ½ to 2 ½ cups water
Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Pour the water in slowly and stir until you have a sticky — not stiff —dough. Sometimes I need just 1 ½ cups of water, at others I need the full 2 ½ — it depends on the flour you use and the climate. If you get a sloppy dough, don’t worry — it will still make great bread, it’ll just be a nightmare to work with. Cover with a tea towel and let it prove in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours. I leave mine by the fire when I go to bed in the winter, or you could put it in a hot water cupboard or on top of your fridge.
The dough is ready to use when you lift the tea towel and see the surface is dotted with bubbles. Don’t be alarmed if it looks like a sloppy batter; this is the way it should look. Get lots of flour and sprinkle it on a work surface so that you have a thick covering. You don’t want to see any surface through the layer of flour. Tip the bread dough out onto the surface, sprinkle the top with lots more flour and fold it over on itself a few times so that it is a mound, and then cover with a tea towel and leave for 15 minutes to recover. Do not be surprised if it starts expanding and creeping out onto the work surface during this time.
Flour your hand generously and shape the dough into a ball. Coat a tea-towel liberally with flour — again, you want a really thick covering -and then put the ball of dough onto the tea towel and wrap loosely. Leave in a warm place for two hours so that it can double in size.
Half an hour before the dough is ready put a 2 litre casserole pot or Dutch oven — I use a heavy cast-iron pot with lid — into a hot oven at 230°C to heat up. When the dough is ready, take the pot out of the oven, put the bread into it and give it a shake to settle it into the pot. Place back in the oven with its lid on for 15 minutes, and then cook with the lid for the next 15 minutes until the loaf is nicely brown on top. Remove from the oven, inhale and enjoy.