You will need a sourdough starter to make this, see ‘Sourdough Starter’ for details on how to make it.
500g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp clear honey
300g sourdough starter
flavourless oil, for greasing
Tip the flour, 225ml warm water, the salt, honey and the starter into a bowl, or a mixer fitted with a dough hook. Stir with a wooden spoon, or on a slow setting in the machine, until combined – add extra flour if it’s too sticky or a little extra warm water if it’s too dry.
Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 mins until soft and elastic – you should be able to stretch it without it tearing. If you‘re using a mixer, turn up the speed a little and mix for 5 mins.
Place the dough in a large, well-oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave in a warm place to rise for 3 hrs. You may not see much movement, but don’t be disheartened, as sourdough takes much longer to rise than a conventional yeasted bread.
Line a medium-sized bowl with a clean tea towel and flour it really well Tip the dough back onto your work surface and knead briefly to knock out any air bubbles. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and dust it with flour. Place the dough, seam-side up, in the floured bowl, cover loosely with a sheet of oiled cling film and leave at room temperature until roughly doubled in size. The time it takes for your bread to rise will vary depending on the strength of your starter and the temperature in the room, anywhere from 4-8 hrs. The best indicators are your eyes, so don’t worry too much about timings here. You can also prove your bread overnight in the fridge.
Remove it in the morning and let it continue rising for another hour or 2 at room temperature. The slower the rise, the deeper the flavour you will achieve. Place a large baking tray in the oven, and heat to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Fill a small roasting tin with a little water and place this in the bottom of the oven to create steam. Remove the baking tray from the oven, sprinkle with flour, then carefully tip the risen dough onto the tray. Slash the top a few times with a sharp knife, if you like, then bake for 35-40 mins until golden brown. It will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 20 mins before serving.