Bara Planc. Welsh bakestone bread
Here’s a traditional bread from the land of my fathers. It’s a Welsh loaf called Bara Planc that’s cooked on a bakestone on the hob. The finished loaf has a distinctive appearance with a tight crumb, soft texture and scorched crust. It is a heavy, chewy bread and utterly delicious toasted and then generously buttered.
500g plain flour
1tsp fine sea salt
1.5tsp rapid-rise dried yeast
5ml rapeseed oil
1. Mix the dry ingredients. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl with the yeast and sugar on one side and the salt on the other.
2. Mix the wet ingredients. Pour the milk into a pan and add the butter. Heat gently until the liquid is lukewarm and the butter melted.
3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir the liquid into the flour to make a ragged mixture, then gather it together to make a dough ball.
4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s smooth, firm and elastic. Add the oil to the bowl and turn the dough in it until it’s coated. Cover the bowl with Clingfilm and leave to rise for 90 minutes or until it has just about doubled in size.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead very gently , just until the dough feels smooth and soft. Bring together into a tight ball then use your hands to flatten it to a circle measuring about 20cm in diameter and 2cm thick. Let it stand for 15 minutes to relax.
6. Meanwhile, heat the bakestone or heavy frying pan on the hob over a medium heat.
7. Gently lift the dough with your hands and place onto the bakestone and leave it to cook for 20 minutes.
8. Turn the bread over. It may sink, but it will soon start rising again. Cook the second side for 20 minutes. The top and bottom should have firm, golden brown crusts while the sides remain pale and, when pressed, feel softly firm.
9. Leave it to cool on a wire rack.