Feel free to throw a couple of hundreds grams of cubed cheddar into the dough, pitted olives, crispy bacon or any herbs you have to hand. The recipe takes around 3 to 4 hours from start to finished loaf.
10 AUGUST 2010
400g strong white flour, plus more for dusting and shaping
1 tsp dry instant yeast (from the packet)
1 tsp fine salt
300ml warm water oil for kneading
Mix flour, yeast, salt and warm water together in a bowl and mix until it ends up as a craggy mess. Cover with a cloth and let it be for ten minutes. Either use a mixer with the dough hook attachment or oil a work surface and knead the bread for 10 seconds. Return it to the bowl. Repeat this process twice more, waiting ten minutes each time.
Shape the dough into an oval, dust it with flour and place it seam-side down on a baking sheet or tray. Cover again with a cloth and leave for around 45 minutes until the dough has increased in volume by around 50%. Flour the top of the loaf, slash it down the middle to create a tear and bake at 220°C for 35-40 mins until golden brown.
Chef’s tip – place a roasting tray in the bottom of your oven and pour boiling water into it when you put the loaf in the oven to create steam which will help your crust and the tear.
(Method first published in The Handmade Loaf by Dan Lepard 2004, reworked in The Guardian 2007, to see more of Dan's work visit danlepard.com)