Pour the water into a bowl and add yeast and sugar.
Leave about 15 minutes until frothy.
Sift flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the yeast liquid.
Mix to a soft dough.
Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic - about 10 minutes by hand or 2 minutes in a food mixer.
Shape into loaves and brush with salt water, then cover them with a damp cloth, or oiled polythene bag and leave to rise for 1½ hours. (Some dried yeasts will rise more quickly.)
Bake at Gas Mark 8, 450° F, 230°C for 25- 35 minutes. Turn out and cool on wire rack.
Sprinkle sesame seeds or poppy seeds over the top before baking.
Add 1 oz / 25 g butter or lard and rub into the flour.
The best results are obtained with 'strong' flour milled from hard wheats. You may need to use more liquid.
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