Make the starter:
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the ingredients for the starter. The mixture should resemble thick batter. Let the batter rest in the mixer bowl until you make the dough mixture.
2. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients for the dough mixture except the oil and seeds. Using a spoon, sprinkle the dough mixture lightly over of the starter mixture. Don’t mix. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest in room temperature for 1 hour. During this time the sponge may rise through the flour.
Knead the bread:
1. When ready to knead, beat the dough/starter mixture with a dough hook attachment. Start on low speed until all flour is moistened and then increase speed to medium. Knead for 7-8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky, add a little flour. The end result should be a soft dough.
2. Shape the dough roughly in a ball and put in an oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 2 hours in room temperature, until double in size. [At this stage you can cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to rest over night. The dough will continue to rise. Just make sure you give the dough enough time to come to room temperature before shaping].
Shape and bake the bread:
1. Preheat oven to 240 C. Punch down the dough to deflate. Shape into a loaf and put on a baking tray, sprinkled with some flour (Of course, you can shape the bread any other way you like). If you are using sesame seeds, wash the seeds well with cold water. Use your hands to spread the sesame seeds on all sides of your loaf. Cover loosely with kitchen towels. Let the bread rise for 45 minutes-1 hour, until almost double in size.
2. Bake the bread. Using a very sharp knife, make 4-5 slashes, about 1 cm deep on the surface of the loaf. Bake the bread in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 210 and bake 15 minutes more. Take the bread out of the oven, and put on a rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. Don’t be tempted to eat it straight away. The bread continues to cook while it cools.