Makes one large loaf
For the sponge: 15g fresh yeast or 2,5g fast action yeast
60g plain flour
300g plain flour
1ts of salt
egg glaze, made with 1 beaten egg
HOW TO PREPARE
- To prepare the sponge, pour 120g of warm water in a medium mixing bowl, add the sugar and crumble the fresh yeast on the top. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes or till frothy. Add the flour, stir well and cover with cling film for about 30 minutes, until the mixture looks ‘spongy’.
- Ina a large bowl mix the flour and salt, make a well in the center and pour in the sponge and warm water. Stir well to make a dough
- Put the dough in a mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix until dough is firm but elastic. Alternatively knead by hand for at least 10 minutes adding flour and water if necessary.
- Shape the dough into a ball and put it in a large clean bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place until its doubled in size, for about an hour.
- The dough should feel puffy and soft.
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Sprinkle a large baking sheet with cornmeal or flour.
- Place the dough on a work surface and knead for 30 seconds to knock out the air. Using a roll pin, roll the dough and stretch it into a large rectangle, about 1,5cm thick. Leave the dough to rise on a baking sheet for another 20-30 minutes, until nicely puffed up.
- Before baking, using your finger, press the dough gently making three lines lengthways, spacing them evenly and leaving about 5cm border around the edges.
- Brush the bread with an egg glaze and sprinkle nigella seeds or seeds of your choice.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown and cooked through.