Roughly mix all the ingredients together in a stand mixer bowl and knead, using the dough hook attachment, for 5 minutes. If you want to do it by hand, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and stretchy. It should feel like a warm play dough that’s slightly sticky, but not so much that you can’t easily handle it.
Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and cover with damp tea towel. Leave to prove in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. If you have kneaded by hand, place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a damp tea towel. The cooler the temperature the longer the dough will take to rise.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knock back using the heel of your palms. Create a rough rectangle going away from you. Ensure the bottom of the dough is lightly floured so it doesn’t stick, do not flour the top. Knocking back the dough is important to remove all the air bubbles from the first prove.
Preheat oven to 220C / 200 fan / gas mark 7
Starting at the end furthest away from you, pinch either side of the rectangle, pull out slightly and fold back into the middle (about an inch down). Roll the dough over towards you tightly tucking in the fold. Repeat the pinch, fold, roll and tucking process until you get to the end. This sounds really technical, I promise you it isn’t. You will perfect it after a couple of attempts. Tightly shaping your dough this way will improve the texture and final shape of your bread. Further photos of this technique below.
Pop the dough into a lined and lightly floured 2lb loaf tin, seam side down. Lightly dust the top with flour. Tear off two sheets kitchen roll (in one piece) and rub a small amount of flour into it. Place, flour side down, on the dough and prove in a warm place for 30/40 minutes until it has doubled in size. It’s important to have folds/seams facing down, exposed seams will tear open in the oven.
Remove the kitchen roll and bake for 25-30 minutes, until you have a golden crust and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. After baking this bread countless times I know my oven takes exactly 28 minute for the perfect loaf. Carefully remove the loaf from the tin and allow to cool before storing or cutting. Keep in an airtight container and it will be sandwich soft for 3 days, on the 4th day it’s good for toast and dunking into soup.