This is my go-to loaf and below is the original recipe from healthy eating campaigner Doris Grant (1905-2003) who invented it by accident during the second world war. I’ve made it with various flours and flour combinations and my favourite is equal amounts of wholemeal and strong white flour. The mix of flour, yeast, sugar and water is unpromising and sticky but should be worked with your hands, working from the sides to the middle a few times until the dough feels elastic and leaves the sides of the mixing bowl clean. This is minimal work and depending on the flour, might end up wetter than expected alternatively be quite stiff. Don’t worry either way. Once in its buttered tin, the loaf is covered with a tea towel and left somewhere warm, say an airing cupboard. The original recipe says it will take about 20 minutes for the dough to rise to within 1cm of the rim of the tin but it varies in my experience from loaf to loaf. Don’t rush this because it won’t rise further while it bakes. Let the loaf cool before slicing. It makes wonderful toast.
Makes 1 loaf
big lump soft butter
500g wholemeal flour or 250g wholemeal and 250g strong white flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp sugar, honey or molasses
350ml warm water Lavishly butter a 1lb loaf tin, preferably non-stick. Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Add yeast, sugar and salt. Mix together. Add the water and use your hands to form into dough; this is sticky and unlikely seeming but keep going, working from sides to the middle, until the dough feels elastic and comes away clean from the bowl. Plonk the slippery, unwieldy dough into the buttered tin. Transfer to in a warm place, cover with a tea towel and leave until risen to within 1cm from the rim of the tin. Bake at 200C/gas mark 6 for 35 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when rapped on the bottom. Transfer to a cake rack to cool.