First: Rustic Loaf


There it is – already well eaten and full of soft homeliness. It took quite a while, but it came out exactly as the recipe said it would. Considering how cheap the ingredients are, it would be ideal to keep a steady rotation of starter and give up buying shop/bakery loaves altogether. That and it tastes sooo much more authentic. Though I have to say, I’ll need to make wholemeal loaves to keep the old guts down on me and Mr. Darcy. Lately our stomachs start cuddling before the rest of us reaches each other.

Again, this recipe hasn’t been made available online so I’m going to type it up. Be aware that you won’t be getting your fresh bread until at least a day after you start the recipe, possibly longer depending on your schedule. If you want to have it hot and fresh for breakfast, I would suggest starting on Saturday evening and getting up a good few hours before you want to eat…and fueling your kneading powers with some nice hot coffee! Mmmm coffee.


  • 225g/8oz strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast

The Bread

  • 500g/1 lb 2oz strong white bread flour (plus extra for kneading and dusting)
  • 2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 75ml/2.5 fl oz plain yogurt
  • oil, for greasing

First comes the starter:

  1. Tip the flour and yeast into a medium-sized bowl
  2. Pour over 200ml warm water
  3. Mix together with a wooden spoon
  4. Cover with a piece of oiled cling film
  5. Leave in the fridge overnight, and it should look bubbly and smell sweet

Now for the bread:

  1. In a large bowl, tip in the flour, yeast and salt
  2. Pour 150ml warm water and the yogurt into the starter mixture, and stir until combines
  3. Pour this into the larger bowl and stir these together until they form a ball
  4. [The best method for this is to do sweeping, circular movements around the sides and base of the bowl, alternating with slicing down the middle of the dough]
  5. Dust your clean counter lightly with flour and tip the ball of dough out (keep the oiled cling film ready)
  6. Knead by stretching out and folding back the dough with the heels of your hands
  7. Twist the dough at times, always bringing back to a ball shape – don’t be wimpy with it!
  8. Keep this up for about 10 mins, and the dough should feel slightly springy and have a smooth surface
  9. Quickly wash up your large bowl, then lightly oil it
  10. Place the dough inside and cover with the oiled cling film, leave in a warm place in the kitchen for 45 mins-1 hr to treble the dough in size
  11. Remove the cling film (keep aside) and drop the dough onto a floured surface again
  12. Punch all of the air out, kneading as you go, and being very vigorous with it
  13. Plop onto a baking sheet and shape into a nice round ball
  14. Cover with the oiled cling film and leave for about 1 hr to double in size
  15. Heat the oven to 230c/210c fan
  16. Place a roasting tin or grill tray on the bottom of the oven and carefully fill halfway with boiled water from a kettle
  17. Leave for about 10 mins to steam up the oven
  18. Uncover the dough and carefully plump back into as round a shape as possible (if necessary)
  19. With a very sharp knife, cut three slits in the top and dust with flour
  20. Place on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 20 mins
  21. Turn down the oven to 220c/220c fan and bake for 25 mins more
  22. When done, the loaf should sound hollow when you tap the bottom – return to oven for a further 10 mins if not

For a video on how to knead bread dough, visit:


2 Responses

  1. quite a creation, wish I could get a piece fresh out of the oven

    • Thank you 🙂 btw, something I’ve noticed in Japanese blogs is the country’s love of good quality baking – especially fresh bread. Have you noticed this?

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