200g light malthouse flour
150g strong white bread flour
8g fresh yeast
5g honey or sugar
Firstly, make a sponge/preferment using 100g of the malthouse flour, 100g of the water and the full quantity of yeast. Mix this to a wet sponge and leave at room temperature for at least an hour to ferment - there should be bubbles breaking the surface.
Add the remaining malthouse flour, the white bread flour, the softened butter, salt and honey (or sugar) and most of the remaining water. Keep a little water back because you may need slightly more/less.
Knead for approx 8-12 mins depending on if you're doing this manually or in a mixer on a low speed. I tend to make my doughs at 65%-70% hydration and mix in a stand mixer. If the dough is immediately dry and leaves the sides of the bowl clean, I add a little more water. I watch to see if the sticky dough begins to come away from the base of the bowl and like this to happen in the last few mins of mixing to have the right hydration. A moister dough is harder to handle but bakes better.
Leave the dough to rest until doubled in size (1-2hrs depending on temperature) and then shape into a log or boule. I use a dough scraper to then push the edges under and build strength until the shape is neat and holds itself/doesn't collapse. Transfer to a tin or proving bowl, cover loosely with a clean tea towel and rest for another 45 mins.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 240c and place a shallow metal dish in the base of the oven. When the dough has rested, slash with a sharp knife or lame. Pour some cold water into the pre-heated shallow dish and place the bread on a tray in the centre of the oven. Bake for 15 mins at this hotter temperature with the water to create steam, then open the door to release the steam, turn the oven down to 225c and continue to bake until done (around 40-50 mins total baking time). The loaf should sound hollow when tapped on the base.