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Hassle-free Organic Light Malthouse loaf

This loaf uses a breadmaker (mine is a Panasonic SD-253) to take care of the mixing and kneading of the dough, and incorporates a "flying sponge" to ensure a rapid rise. The proofing takes place in a banneton and the loaf is baked off in a cast iron casserole for a lovely crusty loaf in about 3 hours from start to finish! There is minimal washing up required!

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  • 500g Shipton Mill Organic Light Malthouse flour
  • 325g Water at about 25C
  • 10g Fine sea salt
  • 5g Fast acting dried yeast


  • Breadmaker
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Scales
  • 25cm banneton or proving basket
  • Round cast iron casserole dish with lid


  1. Measure 400g of the flour into the breadmaker, stir in all the salt, and set to one side.
  2. Measure the remaining 100g of flour into a pudding basin, stir in the dried yeast, and weigh in 100g of the water. Mix thoroughly, cover loosely with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for around 30 minutes, until the volume has doubled.
  3. Scrape the sponge from step 2 into the breadmaker with a silicone spatula, and add a further 225g of water.
  4. Mix using a dough only program - I used the "pizza" option which only takes 45 minutes. When complete, you should have a noticeably risen dough in the bowl of the machine.
  5. Turn out the dough onto a floured worksurface, flatten into a rectangle, pushing out the larger pockets of gas as you go. Blanket fold the dough into thirds, rotate 90 degrees, flatten slightly and blanket fold again.
  6. Use the edge of your hand to tuck the edges of the dough in underneath itself to form the dough into a neat ball.
  7. Flour the linen lining of a banneton (25cm diameter, large enough for 1kg of dough), and tip away any excess flour. Gently pick up the ball of dough from the worksurface and place it upside down in the banneton. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise. I place mine in a lidded plastic box which keeps in the humidity.
  8. Place the casserole dish in the oven and preheat to 210C so that it is at temperature when the dough has risen to nearly fill the basket and has a distinct "wobble" to it. Dust the exposed surface of the dough with a little flour.
  9. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and take the lid off. In one smooth movement (and being careful of the hot dish), up-end the contents of the basket into the casserole dish, so that the dough lands bottom downwards in the hot dish.
  10. Slash the surface of the loaf with a sharp blade, and put the lid on before returning the dish to the oven.
  11. Bake for about 25 minutes with the lid on, before reaching into the oven to remove the lid of the dish to allow the crust to brown. Bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the crust is browned to your liking.
  12. Remove from the oven and dish and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Notes: Cooking times will, of course, vary by appliance. My fan oven seems to be quite hot and fast, for instance. You could probably vary the flours used with this technique (my other favourite flour is 704 organic white) and reduce the salt with no effect if you wanted to.

Added by: Simon Harris

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