Sift the white and wholemeal flours into a large bowl, tipping in any bran left in the sieve. Add salt. Stir in the dried yeast, then make a well in the centre and pour in the tepid water. Using your hands, gradually draw the flour into the water, mixing well to make a dough.
Gather the dough into a ball that feels firm and leaves the sides of the bowl clean; if necessary, add a little more flour or a little more water.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Turn out the risen dough onto a floured work surface and knock it back with your knuckles. Gently knead the dough into a neat ball shape, then place it on a large greased baking tray. Cover with a damp tea-towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size again.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Uncover the loaf and dust with a little wholemeal flour, then make 4 slashes across the top with a small serrated knife. Bake for 35 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when removed from the tray and tapped on the base.
Transfer the loaf to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing. It can be kept for up to 5 days.
This was a fantastic recipe for whipping up when extra visitors turned up after Christmas. I added cheese and chives plus an egg to the basic recipe for a delicious loaf that needed nothing more than butter. Served with a light salad it was a tasty simple lunch after all the rich Christmas fare of the past week! - 30 Dec 2009