Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large
mixing bowl. Put in the butter and rub it
into the flour. Mix in the seeds. Make a dip in the centre of
the flour and pour in almost 300ml hand
warm (cool rather than hot) water, with
a round-bladed knife. Then mix in enough
of the remaining water and a bit more if
needed, to gather up any dry bits in the
bottom of the bowl, until the mixture
comes together as a soft, not too sticky,
dough. Gather it into a ball with your hands.
Put the dough onto a very lightly
floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins
until it feels smooth and elastic, only
adding the minimum of extra flour if
necessary to prevent the dough sticking.
Place the ball of dough on a lightly
floured work surface. Cover with an
upturned, clean, large glass bowl and
leave for 45 mins-1 hr or until doubled in
size and feels light and springy. Timing
will depend on the warmth of the room.
Knock back the dough by gently
kneading just 3-4 times. You only want to
knock out any large air bubbles, so too
much handling now will lose the dough’s
lightness. Shape into a ball, then cover and leave for 10 mins.
Shape by flattening the dough into a
rectangle about 25 x 19cm using your
knuckles. Fold both shorter ends into
the centre like an envelope, make a
¼ turn, then flatten again into the
same size and roll up very tightly,
starting from one of the short ends.
Seal both ends by pressing down
firmly with the side of your hand. Lay
the loaf on a baking parchment-lined
baking sheet with the join underneath.
Using a very sharp knife, make 7-8
diagonal slashes down the length of
the loaf, deep enough to open up
slightly. Cover and leave for 40-45
mins, or until about doubled in size.
Finish by brushing between slashes
with water, then sprinkling with
alternate lines of seeds.
Put a roasting tin in the bottom of the
oven 20 mins before ready to bake and
heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put
the risen bread in the oven, carefully pour
about 250ml cold water into the roasting
tin (this will hiss and create a burst of
steam to give you a crisp crust), then
lower the heat to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden.
Remove and cool on a wire rack. If you
tap the underneath of the loaf if should
be firm and sound hollow.