1. Mix the flours and salt together in a large bowl (in cold weather, warm the bowl of flour to help activate the yeast.)
2. Cream the yeast and 4 tablespoons of water to a smooth liquid. If using instant yeast, reconstitute with 4 tablespoons of measured water and a good pinch of sugar, stir until dissolved and leave for 15 minutes. The yeast should now be very foamy and ready to use for 'sponging'.
3. Make a well in the centre of flour and pour in the yeast liquid. Add the remaining lukewarm water.
4. Using your hand, draw a little flour into the well and mix until you have a smooth batter in the well. Sprinkle batter with a little flour to prevent a skin from forming. Leave this batter to 'sponge' for about 20 minutes.
5. Now, using your hands, start mixing in remaining flour into the batter. Gather the dough into a ball. It should be firm and come away from the side of the bowl. (Add extra water or flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, at this stage, if dough is too dry.)
6. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or more. It should become smooth, elastic and almost shiny. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, then cover with a damp tea towel.
7. Leave to rise at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours or until double in size. Knock back or punch down the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
8. Knead dough gently and shape into desired form, round or oval. Place loaf, seam side down, onto the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, slash the dough in a cross. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise until double in size.
9. Preheat oven to 220 ºC, uncover loaf and sprinkle top with a little flour. Bake for 15 minutes until golden, lower oven temperature to 190 ºC and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes, or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
This recipe makes 1 loaf that will keep for 5 days or it can be frozen for one month.