Tom Halifax is a very nice man who lives on a tiny magic island protected by stealth otters and some particularly ferocious cattle once idiotically included in a game of cross country crazy golf.
He makes very delicious bread and as I have always avoided baking I thought I better pay attention. You have to get close to see the process as the wee house is filled with dense peat smoke from the fire. How easy he made it look and how delicious this bread was. Using no yeast it is less bloating than other breads, this does not refer however to immediately finishing a loaf when hot from the oven all slavered with a packet of butter and pot of jam.
Tom advises making two loaves as it is impossible to avoid.
Makes one loaf
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
Sieve the 250g of white flour & add the salt & bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and mix in the whole meal flour with a whisk to lighten it. Make a well in the middle and add most of the milk. Mix with a metal spoon. You need to use your judgement at this stage. What you want is a sticky but not liquid dough. If it is too dry and crumbly add a little more milk if on the other hand it is too wet, scatter in a little extra flour. Most of all, this mixture needs to be well mixed. It is better to err on the side of wetness, if in doubt, as a dry loaf will fall apart.
When done flour your hands and lift the dough onto a well floured surface. When you have got a fairly even lump lift the dough into the middle of a floured tray and flatten it into a disk about 2 inches thick. Scatter more white flour over the top of the dough and cut across the loaf both ways to make a cross, about the half way through.
Put the bread in the oven for about half an hour. We like a really crusty top so give it an extra five to ten minutes. Cool it on a wire rack so it does not go soggy underneath. You can break the loaf in quarters or â€˜farls â€˜ along the cuts. Make sure that you taste some of the loaf with butter when new and hot. The loaf will keep well, the texture becoming firmer after a day or so. There is no better bread for toast I know of. It also makes great croutons for soup.