Milk Loaf

Makes one loaf

500g

Gilchesters Unbleached White Flour


10g

Sea salt


10g

instant yeast


caster sugar

20g


30g

softened butter


330g

warm milk


Method

Put the dry ingredients in a large bowl, keeping the yeast separate from the salt. Briefly rub in the butter then add the warm milk and start working the dough in the bowl with a bread scraper.

Tip it out onto a clean worktop. Do *not* add more flour at this, or any other, stage of working the dough.
Slowly work the dough by lifting, slapping and folding it onto the work top and it will start to come together.

Once the dough has stopped sticking to your hands very lightly flour the bowl and place the dough, smooth side up, in. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and allow to prove for an hour to an hour and a quarter. It doesn’t need to be somewhere hot, just somewhere where there is no draught.

Before turning out the dough, sprinkle the worktop very lightly with flour, then using the scraper, turn out the dough so that the smooth top is facedown on the worktop and the rougher side or bottom is facing up.

Then, with the flats of your hand, knock out any air bubbles that have formed in the dough. You can be fairly rough but don’t go daft: it only takes two or three bashes with a flat hand to de-gas the dough. Then lift the top third of the dough and fold it towards yourself, sealing the edge with the heal of your hand. The bring up the bottom third and seal with your hand again. Roll the dough up towards yourself, applying as even pressure as you can, especially with your thumbs, tucking the roll in on itself.

Once rolled up, place it in the buttered loaf tin with the join facing down. Sprinkle the top lightly with flour and cover with the clean cloth and leave it to rise again for another hour. Before this hour is up, however, get your oven on so that it is pre-heated and ready for the bread as soon as it has risen and been slashed. I bake my bread at 200C in a fan oven, so a regular oven should be heated to 220C.

Once the bread has risen for an hour, slash it in which ever fashion you fancy and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes until it is golden the outside and sounds hollow when you tap it. I tend to remove my tin loaves from their tins for the last 5-10 minutes and place them directly on the oven shelf to ensure a good crust all round. Once baked, allow to cool completely before slicing up and enjoying.

This recipe has been developed by Frances Auty, recipe developer and writer of food blog Frances Auty Bakes.

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