You will need:
One 1.5kg bag of strong white flour (organic and stone-ground is best)
2 teaspoons of salt (ideally sea-salt – for flavour, and you need a little less)
2 sachets of dried yeast (but read the small print – I was shocked to discover that many now contain ‘a blend of yeast and bread improvers’ including the enzyme alpha amylase, a known allergen)
300g potato - washed, unpeeled and grated.
Just over 1 litre of warm water
A glug of olive oil, if you wish
1. Empty the bag of flour into the biggest mixing bowl you have, add the salt and dried yeast and mix it loosely. Pour the water in slowly with one hand while vigorously mixing it in with your other.
2. Once the water is all combined, knead the dough loosely for about 2 minutes with as much power as you can - all you need at this stage is for the dough to become well combined and to take on a slight sheen. Put it somewhere warmish for about an hour. Although if you’re not in a hurry, leave it somewhere cooler for a bit longer – it will develop more flavour this way.
3. Next, tip the dough onto a well floured surface and using an old credit or store card divide it into three equal amounts. Using both hands start folding the dough in on itself repeatedly. You will need a fair bit of flour both on your hands and your table to avoid getting stuck, but as the dough is quite wet already this is fine.
4. Once the dough ball looks a bit more like a loaf (between 2 and 4 minutes of kneading), place it seam side up into an oiled bowl, floured round basket or seam side down in a large (2lb) bread tin. Repeat with the other two lumps of dough, and then leave these somewhere warm for about an hour and a half to two hours. They will be ready to go in the oven when the dough doesn’t spring back when you prod it.
5. Dust them with flour and place in a very hot oven (220 to 230 degrees celcius). The tins can go straight in, round loaves should be tipped up onto a large baking sheet that you leave in the oven to heat up. This creates an extra crusty base.
6. Bake for around 25 to 30 minutes, until the loaves look a deep golden brown and they sound very hollow when you tap the underside. Leave them to cool for about an hour before attempting to eat them. It will be worth the wait! Once cool wrap two in a plastic bag for later in the week, or freeze them if you wish.
Feline Charpentier has been baking since 2006, featuring in Guardian Food Monthly, Country Living magazine and is now contributing to Sublime. She runs Matilda’s Bakehouse, a catering business which includes a mobile wood fired pizza oven. Named after her daughter, the business takes her all over the North West and beyond.