1 kg wholewheat flour
1 tsp yeast
20 g salt
800 ml tepid water
1/2 tsp sugar
15 g oil
A handful of flax seeds (or any other topping. Or not)
Dissolve sugar in 250 ml water, add yeast and cover.
When frothy (after about 10 minutes), add to flour along with the remaining ingredients and knead until smooth and elastic. I find that avoiding pushing and pressing while kneading results in a more elastic dough. I could be way off the mark, but my hypothesis is that when pushed, the bran in wheat flour cuts gluten strands.
Tuck the edges of the dough to form a nice tight ball and allow to rise in a large, covered bowl (I use the same bowl that I mixed all the ingredients in, and no, I don't wash it before I put the dough ball in).
When doubled in volume, flatten gently and divide into two pieces. Flatten each piece into a rough rectangle and bring the top edge to the centre. Press the edge down and repeat with the lower edge. Fold the now smaller rectangle into half, and fuse the edges together by pressing firmly. Turn the rectangle a quarter of a circle and repeat the whole process. By now you should have a plump cylinder, which you can lower gently into a loaf tin. (mine are 9x4.5 inch ones).
Leave alone until the dough reaches the rims of the tins. Spray with water, score and top with seeds.
Bake in a preheated oven at 250ºC for 12 minutes (remembering to place a small bowl of boiling water on the shelf for this duration) and at 180ºC for 40 minutes (or thereabouts, until the bottom of each loaf feels hollow and the top looks dark brown and crusty.
Marvel at the texture and the speed at which it vanishes. Ask to be excused while you adjust your halo :-)))