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Ingredients

For the starter

For the bread

Method

  • STEP 1

    First, make the starter. Tip the flour and yeast into a bowl. Pour over 200ml warm water, use a wooden spoon to mix together, then cover the bowl with a piece of oiled cling film. Leave in the fridge overnight, after which the dough should look fairly frothy and bubbly, with a sweet yeasty smell.

  • STEP 2

    Now make the bread. Tip the flour into a bowl along with the yeast and salt. Pour 150ml warm water and the yogurt into the starter mixture, stir until well combined, then pour this into the bowl with the flour. Use a spoon to bring the mixture together into a ball – this will take a couple of mins as the flour needs to absorb the water. Add another 50ml water if the dough feels tight.

  • STEP 3

    Tip out the dough onto a surface lightly dusted with flour. Push down and away, using the heel of your hand to stretch out the dough, then fold the outside edge back over itself to make a ball again. Twist the dough round a bit and start again. Keep kneading like this for about 10 mins, depending on how vigorous you are. When it’s ready, the dough should feel slightly springy when touched and have a smooth surface when shaped into a ball. Alternatively, you can knead the dough for about 5 mins in a table-top mixer or food processor with a dough attachment.

  • STEP 4

    Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside. Oil a piece of cling film, lay this loosely over the top, then leave in a warm, draught-free place until nearly trebled in size – this can take from 45 mins to about 1½ hrs. Remove the cling film and punch down the airy dough with your hand. Tip out onto your floured surface, knead a couple of times until smooth and the air has been knocked out, then lightly oil a large baking sheet. Shape the dough into a round ball and place on the sheet. Re-cover with the oiled piece of cling film and leave until doubled in size, about 1 hr.

  • STEP 5

    Heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Place a roasting tin on the bottom shelf of the oven and carefully half-fill with boiling water from the kettle. Leave in the oven for 10 mins so it gets steamy. If your dough has spread, gently tuck the ends under to make a neat ball, then use a sharp knife to make a few slashes across the bread before lightly dusting with flour. Place the baking sheet on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 20 mins. Turn the heat down to 220C/200C fan/ gas 7, bake for 25 mins more, then take out of the oven. Tap the bottom of the loaf – it should sound hollow. Return to the oven for another 10 mins if not. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Great with a bowl of soup, as a chunky sandwich or, best of all, lightly toasted with some butter and jam.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, November 2009

Goes well with

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