We like bread that is crunchy and dark on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The dark crust shows the deep caramelisation of the sugars in the dough and softens slowly over a day or two, gaining more flavour. The crumb has hints of both sweetness and tanginess thanks to the symbiosis of yeast and bacteria working its magic on the dough. The soft chewiness is because of the high initial hydration of the dough which makes it easier to work, but also gives the bread longevity once it's baked.
Bread consists of only three ingredients: flour, water and salt. These are mixed together by hand and left to ferment for a few hours with periodic turns. Once it has reached the right point of fermentation it's shaped into loaves and proofed for another ten to twelve hours.
We prefer Eureka Mills flour for our bread. Stoneground flour is coarser and carbs in the flour are taken up by the body more slowly. Stone grinding is also cooler, preserving vitamins and fats in the flour, and retains the bran which is one of the main sources of nutrition in a grain berry.
The starter we use is fed on a diet of Eureka Mills wholewheat flour. Yes, it has a name. Bob. His predecessor, Andy, met his demise when the power failed while we were on holiday. If Bob ever passes on, I'm thinking of Cyril as a replacement.
If you'd like to learn to bake bread yourself, please visit this amazing website.