Ale and cheese is a perfect pairing – serve thick slices of this malt loaf with strong cheese or a ploughman's lunch.
500g strong plain bread flour, plus extra to dust
500g stoneground wholemeal flour
20g easy-blend yeast
2 tbsp black treacle
500ml brown ale or mild (we used Banks’s Mild, widely available)
Vegetable oil for greasing
01.Put the flours, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl or in a stand mixer. Warm the treacle, ale and 200ml cold water in a small pan. Add the liquid
02.to the bowl gradually and mix until you have a slightly sticky dough (you may not need all the liquid). Knead on a lightly floured work surface or in the mixer for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and a tea towel, then leave somewhere warm to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
03.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (or return the bowl to the stand mixer) and knead for 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough in half and knead each piece into a round. If you’re using proving baskets as I prefer to do, dust them well with flour, then drop each round, smooth-side down, into them. If you don’t have proving baskets, put each round on a well floured baking sheet. Whatever you’re using, cover with cling film and clean tea towels, then leave to prove for an hour or until doubled in size.
04.Heat the oven to its highest setting. Five minutes before you put the loaves in, place a small roasting tray of boiling water into the base of the oven – the steam it gives off will help the loaves form a crust.
05.If you proved your loaves in baskets, turn them out onto well floured baking sheets. Put the loaves on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 and bake for 20 minutes or until browned and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Leave to cool on a wire rack.