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My Lovely Loaf

Sunflower Granary Bread

Whisk 6 level teaspoons of dried yeast in hand-heat water with a dessert-spoon of soft brown sugar. Cover with a clean tea-towel and leave to work while you mix your flours and grains.

Place 2oz sunflower seeds (no husks) in a 1lb scoop. Make it up to 1lb with wholemeal bread flour.

Add 2 x 1lb scoops of Shipton Mill Organic Light Malthouse flour, and 3 good teasps salt. Combine.

Make a well and pour in the frothed yeast, and enough hand-hot water to make a flexible dough. Mix with your hand - it's easier and more effective.

Turn it on to a well-floured surface, knead by lifting the outside with your knuckles and bringing it into the centre, pressing firmly . Work your way around the dough, turning as you go, until it springs back when pulled. It won't take long - a few minutes. (if you've over-wetted your dough, don't worry, use a palette knife instead of your knuckles, and just keep kneading.)

Put it into an oiled bowl, cover the top with oiled clingfilm, and leave to rise for up to 12 hours. It needs to more than double in size.

Tip it out on to a floured surface, knead again, firmly pressing out the air, and prove again in the bowl, under the oiled film, until at least doubled.

Oil 3 x 2lb loaf tins. Tip the dough out and divide it into 3 equal portions, knead each one, shape it, and pop it into the tin.

Cover the top of the tins with the oiled film, leave to rise.

When the tops of the loaves are level with the tops of the tins, make 3 or 4 slashes slantways across the top. This stops the side splitting when it's baked.

Put the tins into a cold oven (yes, you read that right. Cold.) Turn the oven to 200 deg C or equivalent, set timer for 23 mins.

After 23 mins reduce the oven to 180 deg C, and time it for about 20 - 25 mins. Turn oven off.

Flex the tins to pop the loaves out, and tap the base of each one with a fingernail. It should feel firm, and sound hollow. If it isn't quite done, put it back for 5 or 10 mins in the still-warm oven (the one at the front of my oven often needs this).

Cool before eating! This is the hardest part of the recipe.

The loaves keep well in plastic bags and can be frozen - that's why I make 3 at a time. Without a freezer they will still keep for up to 10 days, bagged and sealed in the fridge.