The starter (begin up to 12 to 24 hours before)
300g bread (strong) flour
7g sachet dried yeast
Pinch caster sugar
250ml warm water
480g (3½ cups) bread (strong) flour
1 tspn salt
½ tspn sugar
1x 7g sachet yeast
150ml warm water
2 tbspn olive oil
For the starter
Attach either the flat beater or flex edge beater and the mixing bowl to the Stand Mixer and add the starter ingredients: the flour, yeast, sugar and warm water. Turn to speed 4 and mix to a paste. Remove to a clean mixing bowl.*
Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, dark place. Stir twice a day to help prevent a thick skin forming. The paste will become bubbly and have a pleasant, light yeasty smell.
12 to 24 hours later.
Attach a dry clean mixing bowl to the Stand Mixer fitted with either the flat beater or flex edge beater. Add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Turn to speed 1 and mix until combined.
Add 200g (about 1 cup) of the starter *(refrigerate the remaining in a sealed container), warm water and oil. Mix on speed 2 until smooth. Change to the dough hook and knead on speed 2 for 5 to 7 minutes or until smooth.
Remove dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and leave until doubled in size. This takes about 1½ hours in a warm, draft free place.
Punch down the dough and return to the Stand Mixer. Using the dough hook, knead for a further 2 minutes. Place the dough into the desired shape onto a lightly floured baking sheet and sprinkle the dough with extra flour. Set aside for 40 minutes or until doubled in size. With a sharp knife, lightly and quickly score the top of the loaf, if desired.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan forced).
Place an oven proof dish filled with water in the bottom of the oven (this will help give a super crunchy crust on the outside and a fluffy interior to the bread).
Bake loaf for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 200C (180C fan forced) and bake a further 20 minutes or until the bottom of the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.
* Place the remaining 'starter' in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days, ready for the next loaf.
* Additional 3 litre or 4.8 litre mixing bowls are available for purchase.