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Delia’s Quick Wholemeal Loaf
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Makes: one loaf
450g strong stoneground wholemeal flour, plus a little extra
1 level dessertspoon fine salt
2 level teaspoons (or a 7g packet) easy bake yeast
350ml hand-hot water
You will need a Delia Online Loaf Tin (Silverwood 1lb) or a traditional 2lb loaf tin, very well buttered and a large polythene bag greased on the inside with a few drops of oil.
Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl, then all you do is simply sprinkle on the salt and easy bake yeast, using a spatula mix everything together thoroughly. Make a well in the centre and pour in all the hand-hot water. Then mix the water into the flour gradually to form a dough: the exact amount of water you'll need will depend on the flour. Finish off by mixing with your hands until you have a smooth dough that leaves the bowl clean – there should be no bits of flour or dough remaining on the sides of the bowl and, unlike pastry, it is better to have too much water than too little.
Now transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and stretch it out into an oblong, then fold one edge into the centre and the other over that. Now put the dough into the tin and sprinkle the surface with a generous dusting of flour, then place it into the roomy greased polythene bag. Close it with a clip and leave it to rise for 1½ to 2 hours at room temperature (but this could be much quicker depending on the warmth or the room) until the centre is about 2cm above the height of the tin.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. When the dough has risen to above the top of the bread tin, remove the bag and bake near the centre of the oven for 40 minutes.
When the bread is cooked, loosen the edges with a palette knife and turn it out on to a cloth to protect your hands. Then tap the bottom of the loaf with your fingertips to check if it is cooked through as you tap you should hear a hollow sound. If you like it crusty then return the bread, out of its tin, upside down to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes to crisp the base and sides.
Cool the bread on a wire rack, and never put it away or freeze it until it is absolutely cold.
Recipe adapted from ‘Delia’s Complete How to Cook’ published by BBC Books 2009 © Delia Smith 2014