Ploughman's Bread

From "100 Loaves - Breadmaking as Meditation". The annotations in italics are mine.


•  ½ cup warm water
•  1 tbsp dry yeast
•  1 tbsp sugar (honey)
•  5-6 cups cups unbleached flour (Optional: Substitute 1 cup with white whole wheat flour.)
•  1 tsp salt
•  2 tbsp hot mustard (Dijon mustard works well.)
•  ½ cup minced onion
•  1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
•  1 tsp cracked black peppercorns
•  ¾ cup warm milk
•  ½ cup warm water
•  1 beaten egg


Dissolve yeast into the warm water and add 1 T of sugar and 1 cup of flour. When the mixture bubbles, add the salt, mustard, onion, cheese, peppercorns, milk, another ½ cup warm water, and 4 cups of the flour. Turn onto a floured surface and knead well, adding additional flour to make an elastic, though somewhat bumpy, loaf.
(Alternative: Make a poolish for overnight fermenting with the water, an equal weight of flour, and a scant 1/8 t of instant yeast. Then, when putting the dough together the next day, substitute honey for the sugar. Add only another teaspoon of instant yeast when putting the dough together. This might slow the first rising time, but it adds a lot to the flavor.)
Place in a greased bowl, turning once, cover and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour (or longer, until doubled).
Punch down the dough and allow to rest for five minutes. Cut the dough in half and form into two round loaves. Place the loaves into small round pie or cake pans that have been greased and floured. (If using use a stone, let them rise on a peel dusted with cornmeal.) Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for an hour (or longer, until doubled).
Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the tops of the loaves. (Optional: Put a pan with 8 ice cubes on the bottom of the oven to produce some steam to  improve the crust.) Bake the loaves for 40-45 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove the loaves and let cool on racks.