And then Margaret Fulton came to my rescue.
I guess Margaret Fulton is the original celebrity Australian chef, and her cookbooks are much coveted. So when I found a small volume in amongst Ant's recipe books I was pleasantly surprised, especially when I came across her recipe for a single rise brown bread. And it works. Beautifully. Every time.
I've adjusted ingredients, measurements and method enough to feel that I can safely publish it here. The original recipe was also for two loaves and I've changed it to one.
One-Rise Brown Bread
2 tbs fresh yeast
1 tbs castor sugar
2 ¼ cups warm water
375g wholewheat flour
375g white bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs honey
Place yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture once it has activated and gently stir to combine.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and need for 10 minutes, until it is smooth and springy. Place inside your greased loaf tin. Cover with a piece of oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour until it’s doubled in size. Brush the top with a little water and sprinkle on poppy seeds (or sesame seeds, or whatever takes your fancy).
Bake in a preheated hot oven, 230˚c (450˚F) for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 200˚c (400˚F), and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.