4 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
450ml/16fl oz brown ale, at room temperature
520g/1lb 2½oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
320g/11oz wholemeal flour
200g/7oz cheddar, grated
75g/2½oz parmesan (or similar vegetarian hard cheese), grated
50g/2oz powdered milk
1½tsp mustard powder
2 free-range eggs, beaten
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 free-range egg, white only, for glazing
In a bowl dissolve the sugar and yeast in the brown ale and set aside for 5-6 minutes.
Mix the bread flour, the wholemeal flour, cheddar, parmesan, powdered milk, salt, mustard powder, eggs and fennel seeds in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and beer mixture and mix well with your hands until the mixture forms a soft dough.
Using floured hands, knead the dough on a clean, floured work surface for 20-25 minutes until smooth and elastic. If the dough becomes too dry add a little warm water.
Divide the dough into two loaves and place them onto a large baking tray. Using a sharp knife, score the top of the loaves with a criss-cross pattern. Cover with a clean damp tea towel and leave for two hours in a warm, dry and draught-free place, until the dough has risen and doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. When the loaves have expanded, brush each with the egg white.
Transfer the loaves to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the bread has cooked through and the crust is golden-brown.
To serve, slice the loaves and serve with a big bowl of soup.
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