'Gold Hill" Granary Boule and Oval

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Gold Hill. From the top, arguably one of the most romantic sights in England. It lies in the town of Shaftesbury in Dorset and is an ancient cobbled street that found fame when, in 1973, it was the setting for the  'Boy on a Bike' advertisement for Hovis bread, and later voted as Britain's most favourite advertisement of all time. 

And then, in 1978, the advert was 'spoofed' by Ronnie Barker - 

Today, we're baking 'Gold Hill', my tribute to Carl Barlow, the 'Boy on the Bike', to Ronnie Barker, one of the finest comedians of all time, to Hovis, originating in Stoke on Trent in 1886 and mass-producing flours in Macclesfield from 1898. And, of course, to the Granary© loaf, itself. 


350 gms of Hovis Granary© flour or Light Malthouse flour or any seeded, malted bread flour
100 gms of strong white bread flour
300 mls of tepid filtered water
1.5 teaspoon demerara sugar
7 gms sea salt
25 gms unsalted butter
1 full teaspoon active instant yeast

Remember, if you can also experiment with making your own 'granary' flour. I like to use a combination of white flour, wholemeal flour, with malted wheat grains and malted wheat flakes. There's no set quantities, I judge it by eye. 

The above recipe gives a dough of 75% hydration. 


Stage 1

Using a bread machine

Add the flour and the salt to the pan and cover with the liquid. Leave to autolyse for fifteen minutes. Add the remainder of the ingredients and choose a Basic Dough programme (2hrs 20 minutes) or  wholemeal programme (3hrs 10 mins).  The proceed to the next stage. 

Mixing by hand

If you're mixing by hand or using a stand mixer, add the softened butter and the salt to the flour and mix thoroughly. Then add the remainder of the dry ingredients (except the yeast). Slowly add the liquid and then the yeast until you have a sticky mix. Turn the mix out onto a floured board and knead until you have a silky and pliable dough. (There are 'Help' videos and articles in the 'Useful Web and YouTube links' on the left hand side of this page). Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. Leave for an hour somewhere warm until the dough has doubled in size. 

Stage 2

Tip the dough out on to a very lightly-floured board and knock out the air that has been formed. 

For a boule

Bring in the edges of the dough into the middle until you have a shape similar to a ball. Tutn the dough over so that the smooth side is on the top. 

Place the dough at the far edge of your work top and cup your hands around the ball, making sure the edges of your palms are in contact with the worktop. 

Draw the dough towards you gently, so helping to develop tension on the surface of the dough. 

Turn the dough through 90 degrees and repeat.

Place the dough in a generously-floured banneton, cover and leave at room temperature for about an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. 

For an oval

Stretch out the dough into a rough rectangular shape, roughly the length of your banneton. Gently roll the dough up as though you are making a swiss roll. Tuck the ends under and place in a generously-floured banneton. 

Cover and leave at room temperature for about 45 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size. 

Ready for a second proof

Stage 3

Preheat your oven to 190⁰C. If you are baking on a stone or using a cloche or Dutch Oven, remember to preheat these as well. 

Gently tip the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper, score as desired and mist with water. 

Place the dough into the hot pan or slide onto the hot stone and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown and hollow when tapped on the underside. 

Cool on a rack thoroughly before cutting. 

If you want to glaze the top of the loaf, you can do so with a mixture of egg and milk. Sometimes, I like to glaze and then add pumpkin seeds. 

Happy baking.....


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