350g Bacheldre Watermill Organic Strong Unbleached white flour
1½ tsp salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 garlic clove, crushed
150ml/¼ pint lukewarm milk
150ml/¼ pint lukewarm water
1 tbsp organic clear honey
3 tbsp organic extra-virgin olive oil
7g sachet dried fast-acting yeast
1 free-range egg, beaten for glazing (optional)
fennel seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
First prepare your pot. Select one clean, clay flower pot (15cm diameter x 15cm high). Clean thoroughly, oil inside and outside and bake three or four times in a hot oven for about 30-40 mins. You can do this while you are baking other foods.
Mix both flours in a large mixing bowl with the salt, then add all the herbs and garlic and mix together thoroughly, then make a well in the middle.
In a large warm jug, mix together the milk, water, honey, olive oil and the yeast and leave for a few mins to let the yeast activate. Now pour the liquids into the centre of the flour and, with a spoon, start mixing the flours into the liquid from the outside of the bowl in to the middle.
Now with clean, warm hands carry on the mixing process until all the ingredients come together to form a dough. Knead for 5-7 mins on a lightly floured surface, place in a bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave for 30-40 mins in a warm place.
The dough should be larger than when you first started so you a€˜knock it back’ - literally punch a hole in the middle and knead again for 5 mins.
Now prepare the pot and ensure that it is well greased (you can line the pot with greaseproof paper if you want to), and mould the dough into it. Score the top of the dough, with a sharp knife, about 1cm in, which will add that extra bit of character to the loaf. Place in a warm place and allow to rise for 30-40 mins.
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7, glaze the top of the dough carefully and sprinkle with the fennel seeds. Carefully, place the pot in the centre of the oven, trying not to knock the pot and bake for 35-40 mins until golden brown. Remove the loaf from the oven and cool for 5-10 mins, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely. Do take care as the pot gets very hot.