Mix your choice of brown flour with the
white, the yeast and salt in a large mixing
bowl. Put in the butter and rub it into the
flour. Stir in the herbs. Make a dip
in the centre of the flour and pour in
almost 300ml hand warm (cool rather
than hot) water, with a round-bladed
knife. Then mix in enough of the
remaining water and a bit more if
needed, to gather up any dry bits in the
bottom of the bowl and until the mixture
comes together as a soft, not too sticky,
dough. Gather it into a ball with your hands.
Put the dough on to a very lightly
floured surface and knead for 8-10 mins
until it feels smooth and elastic, only
adding the minimum of extra flour if
necessary to prevent the dough sticking.
Place the ball of dough on a lightly
floured work surface. Cover with an
upturned, clean, large glass bowl and
leave for 45 mins-1 hr or until doubled in
size and feels light and springy. Timing
will depend on the warmth of the room.
Knock back the dough by lightly
kneading just 3-4 times. You only want to
knock out any large air bubbles, so too
much handling now will lose the dough’s
lightness. Shape into a ball. Cover with
the glass bowl and leave for 15 mins.
Shape by oiling and lining the base
and sides of a clean, unused
earthenware flowerpot (about 14cm
tall x 13cm diameter) with baking
parchment. Cut off ¾ of the dough,
shape it into a fat sausage that is
slightly narrower at one end and push
the narrow end down into the pot.
Shape the rest into 3 round buns.
Finish by brushing the loaf lightly with
water and gently pressing a sprig or
2 of rosemary into the top (soak the
rosemary in cold water first to help
prevent it from burning in the oven).
Sprinkle with salt flakes and a little
flour, and sit it on a baking sheet
with the buns, also decorated with
rosemary and salt. Cover all with
a clean tea towel and leave for
40-45 mins, or until the loaf has risen
to about 5cm above the top of the pot.
Put a roasting tin in the bottom of the
oven 20 mins before ready to bake and
heat oven to 230C/210C fan/gas 8. Put
the risen bread in the oven, carefully pour
about 250ml cold water into the roasting
tin (this will hiss and create a burst of
steam to give you a crisp crust), then
lower the heat to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
Bake for about 20 mins for the rolls and 30 minutes for the flowerpot, or until golden.
Remove and cool on a wire rack. If you
tap the underneath of the loaf if should
be firm and sound hollow