One of my most favourite hobbies is to bake bread. I simply love baking and breads in particular are a huge stress buster for me. Baking is not just an art but also a kind of a meditation for me. I usually like to make decorative breads as there is so much one can do with a lump of dough. Perhaps this is why most often than not you only see a fancy bread on my blog. I rarely ever bake a loaf of bread because I generally end up picking one from the store. While the hubs constantly pleads me to bake him some fresh bread at home, I rarely ever do that. In the past I have been a part of a baking group that used to give us a monthly theme that we had to work around. I enjoyed that very much, however, since I was unable to meet the deadlines I don’t participate as often. Now I bake breads very occasionally, only if a recipe entices me enough to want to gather the ingredients and start baking.
This bread was not just east to bake, it looked and smelled wonderful. As is the case with all breads, the house was filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread and I couldn’t wait for it to cool before I went crazy with the camera. My patience was rewarded as I took a bite into a soft slice slathered with my favourite orange marmalade. Nothing can beat the taste of freshly baked bread!
This recipe is from the Bread & Bread Machine Bible and I have adapted it to suit the lack of a bread machine. I hope you enjoy making it!
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A soft & velvety bread flavoured with milk is an enjoyable treat whether eaten plain or with an accompaniment of your choice
- 1 cup milk at room temperature
- 100 ml lukewarm water
- 500 grams all purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- For the glaze:
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
In a small bowl, place the yeast, 1 teaspoon of the sugar and 3 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Stir and keep in a warm place for the yeast to bloom, about 10-12 minutes. If the yeast fails to bloom (froteven after 15 minutes, discard it and start all over again with a fresh package.
While the yeast is blooming, mix in the salt with the flour in a large bowl, add the remaining sugar and butter and then add the yeast mixture when it is ready.
Add the rest of the water and milk and gently bring everything together. Tip this mixture on a lightly floured, clean working space/kitchen counter and knead until the dough is soft & pliable.
Place the dough ball back into a lightly greased bowl. Roll it over so that the oil covers the surface of the dough. Then cover with a clean, damp kitchen cloth or lightly oiled cling film and keep in a warm place till the dough has doubled, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours
When the dough has doubled, punch it down lightly to release the excess air. Then pat it out gently into a rectangle and roll it up like a carpet.
Place the dough in a lightly greased 9x5" loaf pan and cover. Allow the dough to proof for another 15-20 minutes. Then lightly brush the surface with milk or egg wash
Bake in a preheated oven at 175 degrees C for 30-35 minutes or till the surface of the loaf is golden and the bread springs back when lightly pressed.
Remove from the oven and let the loaf cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then turn it out gently and let it cool completely before slicing. Do not slice before it has cooled or the loaf will turn out cakey/fudgy.