Wholemeal Singing Bread with Flaxseeds

This bread is based on Jim Lahey’s no-knead method. In Jim’s book ‘My Bread’ his version of a wholemeal bread only contains ¼ wholemeal flour and ¾ white flour as he doesn’t like the texture with a greater proportion of wholemeal flour. I’ve adapted this recipe to have ½ wholemeal flour and ½ white flour. It seems my family has no problem with the texture as this bread routinely disappears in about half an hour (the four of us stand around and eat it straight off the chopping board). We call this ‘Singing Bread’ because of the hissing and crackling sounds the crust makes when you first take it out of the oven. Whenever I make bread using Jim Lahey’s method I wonder why I ever bother making bread any other way. Easy and delicious.



200g wholemeal bread flour

200g white bread flour

1 tbsp flax seeds

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp active dried yeast or instant yeast

350mL cool/room temperature water

Additional flour for dusting



– This bread requires a long fermentation (12-18 hours depending on ambient temperature) so you have to plan ahead to get it started. I typically mix the dough at about 6pm on the day before I want the bread.

– Whisk together the flours, flax seeds, salt and yeast in a large bowl.


– Add water and mix until all combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl.


– Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave to ferment for 12-18 hours at room temperature.


– When it’s ready it will look like this-


– Using a dough scraper, transfer dough to a well-floured bench or board.

– Shape into a nice tight sphere and place on a piece of baking paper.

– Put dough and baking paper into another large bowl and cover top of bowl with a damp tea-towel and leave somewhere warm.

dough ball

– About 15 mins before baking preheat oven to its highest setting and place a large casserole dish with a lid inside to heat as well. I use a cast iron casserole, but you have to be careful because some of the plastic knobs on certain types of casserole dish will melt at the high temperatures required for this bread.

– After about one to two hours (you’ll know it is ready when your finger leaves an imprint on the dough and it doesn’t bounce back) carefully transfer dough (still on baking paper) into preheated casserole dish. Be very careful here as the dish will be blisteringly hot!

– Place the lid back on the casserole dish and return to the oven.

-After 20mins take casserole dish from oven a slide the baking paper out from under the bread.

– Return the bread to the oven and use your judgement on how much longer it will need to be nicely browned. I occasionally end up burning this bread a little on the bottom, although my husband insists that the burnt bits add to the flavour and I must admit I kind of like them too.


– In Jim’s version of the recipe he bakes for 30minutes with the lid on and then 15 with the lid off to brown the bread. I find mine browns just as well with the lid on and I suspect this is an aspect that you will have to play around with in your own kitchen.

– Once the bread is cooked to your satisfaction turn onto a cooling rack and listen to the bread singing for a while.


– Wait at least an hour before cutting as cutting too early can make the bread doughy.



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