The Romans used spelt, an ancient grain with a delicious flavour, for bread making. It has made something of a recent comeback and gives a fine, crusty loaf.
Put the flour and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix thoroughly on the slowest speed to combine, then add the salt and mix well. Make a well in the centre.
Mix together the oil, honey and lukewarm water in a separate bowl. Pour the liquids into the flour well, then mix on the slowest speed until the ingredients come together in a soft, but not sticky dough. If the dough feels dry, work in more lukewarm water 1 tablespoon at a time; if it’s too sticky, work in more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Tip out the dough onto a lightly floured worktop and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth, pliable and stretchy but firm enough to keep its shape.
Return the ball of dough to the bowl and cover tightly with cling film. Leave to rise for 1–3 hours (depending on room temperature), until doubled in size (or leave to rise overnight in the fridge).
Punch down the risen dough, then tip it out onto a lightly floured worktop and knead gently for 1 minute to evenly distribute the bubbles of gas.
Shape the dough into a neat, smooth ball, then place it on the sheet of baking paper. Dust lightly with wholemeal or white spelt flour, then cover lightly with cling film. Leave to prove for about 1 hour (a bit longer if the dough has been chilled), until just doubled in size.
Towards the end of the proving time, heat the oven to 230°C/210°C fan/450°F/Gas 8. Put the baking sheet into the oven to heat up and put a roasting tin on the bottom of the oven.
Sprinkle the loaf with a little more flour, then slash the top fairly deeply with a sharp knife. Very carefully transfer the loaf on its baking paper to the hot baking sheet, then quickly return to the oven. Pour a large mug of cold water into the roasting tin to produce a good burst of steam. Quickly close the door.
Bake the loaf for 15 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and reduce the oven temperature to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6. Bake for a further 17–20 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you tap the base.
Transfer the bread to a wire rack, discarding the baking paper, and leave to cool completely before slicing.