2 teaspoons caster sugar (superfine)
2 cups warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast or 3 1/2 ounces fresh yeast or .25 ounce fast-acting yeast
1 pound 10 ounces strong white flour (bread flour), plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter or 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg, beaten, optional
Poppy or sesame seeds, for the top of the loaf, optional
Slow rising gives bread an amazing texture and flavor, if you have the time I would recommend trying it. Use cold water instead of warm water, and then leave the dough to rise in a cool place, or refrigerator overnight. Then, when the dough is shaped, leave to rise again for 8 hours in a cool place.
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