I probably would never have found this wonderful recipe were it not for my friends Cathy, Nancy, and Kayte. They’d all made this bread and raved about it on Twitter. I was starting to feel like I was missing out on something so I asked for a link to the recipe and got to work!
As bread recipes go, this one is super simple. It’s fairly similar to a few other basic bread recipes I’ve tried except it uses milk in place of water (hence the name milk loaf!). The other neat thing about this recipe is that it calls for kneading by greasing both your hands and the work surface with olive oil. I’m pretty sure it’s the only recipe I’ve seen that didn’t call for dusting the work surface with flour to prevent sticking. The olive oil trick worked perfectly for me – this dough is easy to work with and I didn’t have any issues with it sticking to my countertop or me.
All of the rave reviews I’d heard about this bread were well deserved. It’s terrific! Since I’ve started making bread more regularly I’ve found the ultimate test for me is whether I can make a tasty grilled cheese sandwich with the bread and this loaf passed with flying colors! Sadly, the loaf is already gone so I need to get into my kitchen and bake another one soon!
1 1/2 tsp fresh yeast, crumbled (conversion to instant/active dry yeast here)
350 g (12 oz) whole milk, at room temperature, plus extra for brushing
20 g (3/4 oz) golden or maple syrup
250 g (9 oz) plain white flour (plain = all-purpose)
250 g (9oz) strong white flour (strong = bread flour)
1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
25 g (1 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
olive oil, for greasing
flour, for dusting
Preheat oven to 410 F.
Place the yeast, milk and syrup into a large bowl and whisk together. Add the flour and salt and mix with your hands to bring together as a soft, sticky dough. Pour the warm melted butter over the dough and mix into the dough with your hands. Cover the bowl and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Grease your hands and a flat clean surface with olive oil. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for ten seconds, then form the dough into a smooth round ball. Wipe the bowl clean and grease with olive oil, then return the dough ball to the bowl and leave for a further ten minutes.
Repeat this ten-second kneading and resting process every ten minutes twice, then leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
Grease a deep 5 x 8 inch loaf pan and dust with flour. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, shape into two balls and place side-by-side into the loaf tin. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise for one and a half hours, or until almost doubled in height.
Brush the top of the loaf with a little milk and place into the preheated oven to bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake for a further 25-30 minutes, or until the top of the loaf is a shiny dark brown and the loaf has come away from the sides of the tin.