Here’s the list of ingredients –
1 lb strong white bread flour
1 sachet fast action, dried yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tblsp milk powder
1/2 pint warm water
I like to dissolve the sugar into the warm water and then add the dried yeast and give it a little shimmy with a teaspoon to mix it up. After about 10 minutes left to its own devices, the yeast will have activated, frothed up and can be added to the flour. Of course, you can just throw it in with the dry ingredients but this method does seem to produce a smoother dough for some reason.
I throw all the ingredients in a bowl, mix together and then either knead by hand if I need to burn off some aggression or let the KitchenAid do the hard work with its dough hook. About 10 mins is usually enough until the dough is smooth and elastic (and still a tiny bit sticky to the touch). Don’t underestimate the power of the milk powder. Use fresh milk as part of your liquid allowance if you prefer but the milk powder does give a better flavour to this type of bread.
Then I cover with a damp tea towel and leave it to rise for about and hour to an hour and a half in a warm place like the airing cupboard, on the hearth (or weirdly on top of the fish tank) until it’s doubled in size-ish. That’s not always an obvious measure of readiness but if it looks quite a bit bigger, that’s often enough. As always, you can let it rise overnight in the fridge instead if that helps your schedule.
Remembering to turn the oven on to 220C, I then turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it gently to get rid of any big air bubbles.
Now this next bit might seem a bit of a faff but it does make a difference to an evenly risen loaf so here goes – get out your rolling pin and roll the dough out so that it’s the length of your 2lb tin and three times the width.
Hmmm, it’s grown a bit long there but no matter. Smack the ends in a bit and put into the tin, fold-side down. I’m not worried about its stretch marks (or mine for that matter) because they’ll disappear once its had its second rise.I generally pop it on the stove top (let’s not be confused here, the stove top isn’t on…) while the oven’s heating up and the gentle heat helps it on its way. The second rise can happen quite quickly – maybe even as little as 30 mins but basically, you’ll want to pop it in the oven as soon as it rises to the top of the tin. It’ll spring a bit further once it hits the heat of the oven.
15 mins at 220C then take it out of its tin, knock the temperature down to 180C and bake for a further 30mins. Leave to cool and slice for sarnies.
Delicious and easily sliceable!