A wise person I met up a mountain once said that to get the most out of life it’s advisable to make bread with the ingredients we have now, rather than waiting for perfect conditions. Here is my preferred recipe, substitute whatever bread flour you have to a total quantity of 1.5lbs.
3/4 lb white spelt flour, or strong white bread flour
3/4 lb wholemeal spelt flour, or strong wholemeal flour
2 level teaspoonfuls quick yeast
1 teaspoonful sea salt
2 tablespoonfuls sunflower/vegetable oil
450 – 500 ml hot (not boiling) water, preferably with a dash or squeeze of lemon juice (yeast works better in slightly acid conditions).
Put all the flour, yeast, salt, oil and hot water into a large bowl. Mix well, either by hand or with a hand beater and dough hooks, until you have a sticky dough. Don’t worry if it feels a bit too damp at this point, you can add more flour later. Cover with a clean tea-towel, and leave in a warmish place until the dough doubles in size (1-2 hours).
When the dough has risen sufficiently, turn it out onto a well floured surface and knock back (knead until it goes back to its original size). Cut the dough in half and continue to knead until it feels springy. Be tough with it! If your dough was a little too sticky before, the flour from this session of kneading should bring it to the correct consistency.
Form the dough into two loaves – no need for tins, and place well apart on a large greased baking sheet. Cover again with a clean cloth, and leave to rise again whilst your oven preheats to its maximum temperature . When the oven is at full heat (20-30 mins), remove the cloth from the bread and put into the oven. Starting at this high temperature helps to form a nice crust. Immediately turn the temperature down to 220 degrees C / 475 F / gas mark 7 and bake the bread for about 35 mins, or until the base of the loaf sounds hollow when you knock on it.
Remove from the oven, and leave the loaves to cool on a wire rack. Put into bags or an airtight container once cool as the bread only keeps for up to 3 days.