Just follow the stages… and you’ll get two fine loaves.
The first stage fiercely 'activates' the gluten in the small amount of flour and, in turn, this is really going to get the gluten moving fast in the remainder of the flour.
Stage 1 The Sponge
2 pks dried Yeast
1 ½ cups hand-warm Water
a drop of Honey
2 cups Bread Flour (choose whatever you fancy, or mix types together)
Mix all together and leave somewhere warm to rise for 45 -60 minutes. It will look pretty crazy!
Stage 2 The Mix
¼ cup Oil
1/3 cup Honey
2 tsps Salt
Beat these together, add to the sponge and beat again like mad.
Stage 3 The Dough
Now you’re going to add the rest of the flour - 4 cups of your choice – a bit at a time.
Knead for a while until the dough is soft and elastic.
Leave it to rise somewhere warm for about an hour
Knock down the dough with a fist and knead again for a while.
Split the dough into two and put into greased loaf tins.
Leave it to rise somewhere warm for another hour
Bake for 30 -40 minutes until the crust is firm and golden. Take out of the tin straight away and check it’s bottom. If it’s a bit pale and/or soggy pop it back in the oven for 5 minutes to crisp up the whole crust.
That’s the basic bread mix.
Be experimental - add other flavours, but remember to do it only AFTER the Sponge stage. Here are a few ideas to get you started
· Sun-dried Tomato & Parmesan
· Spelt flour
· Butternut Squash – bake the squash and add the flesh to the dough at stage 3
· Cheddar Cheese & Spring Onion
· Honey & Sunflower Seeds
· Chilli & Cheese
· Mixed fresh Herbs