2 tsp dried yeast
11 fl oz (325 ml) water
1 lb (500 g) strong white flour
1 ½ tsp salt
- Sprinkle the yeast into 3 ½ fl oz (100 ml) of the water in a bowl. Leave for 5 minutes; stir to dissolve. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeasted water.
2. Use a wooden spoon to form a soft paste. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave the paste to “sponge” until frothy, loose, and slightly expanded, about 20 minutes.
3. Pour the remaining water, holding back about half, into the center of the well. Mix in the flour from the sides of the well. Stir in the reserved water, as needed, to form a firm, moist dough.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth, shiny, and elastic, about 10 minutes.
5. Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave the rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ – 2 hours. Knock back, then leave the rest for 10 minutes.
6. Shape the dough into a long loaf. Place the shaped loaf on a floured baking sheet and cover with a tea towel. Prove until doubled in size, about 30 – 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425˚F/220˚C
7. Cut five diagonal slashes, each about ¼ in (5mm) deep, across the top of the loaf. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until golden brown and hollow-surrounding when tapped underneath. Leave the baked bread to cool on a wire rack.