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If you’re a first time bread maker this is the place to start. A quick to make bread based on the Grant Loaf recipe – an easy, no knead, one-rise delicious loaf that demands a high quality, stoneground wholemeal flour that is not too fine. The bread keeps well and makes great toast. If you can, leave it for a day before slicing for the best flavour.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
Put the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, and mix well with your hand. Cut the butter into small pieces, add to the flour then rub in with the tips of your fingers until the butter disappears. Make a well in the centre of the flour.
Crumble the yeast into a measuring jug, add the water and stir well. Pour the liquid into the well. Using your hand, gradually draw the flour into the liquid in the well to make a very soft and really sticky dough. Mix the dough vigorously with your hand until it starts to leave the sides of the bowl clean – this will take about 5 minutes. Tip the dough into the buttered tin. Wet your fingers then gently ease the dough into the corners so it fills the tin evenly. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
Put the tin into a large plastic bag, inflate slightly so the plastic doesn’t get stuck to the dough and secure the ends to make a mini-greenhouse. Leave in a warm (but not too warm) spot until the dough has almost reached the top of the tin – 45 to 60 minutes depending on the temperature. Just before the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Put an empty roasting tray into the oven to heat up.
Uncover the loaf and put in the oven. Before you close the door, quickly pour a cup full of cold water into the hot roasting tray to produce a burst of steam – this will give the bread a good crust.
Bake the loaf for 45 minutes then remove the tin from the oven – turn out the loaf and tap it underneath – if it sounds hollow like a drum then it is fully baked. If there is a dull thump then return the loaf to the oven, straight on the shelf without the tin, for another 5 minutes then test again. Cool the loaf on a wire rack.
The same recipe can be made with 1 sachet easy-blend dried yeast, mixing it into the flour with the salt.
Sometimes you’ll find a hole in the centre of the loaf; this happens when the dough mixture hasn’t been worked enough and/or the dough was too warm (from the mixing water or it was left to rise in too warm a spot).