Milk Loaf Recipe
My memories of this comforting bread run back to around the age of 7 or 8 and my grandmothers house. My grandmother did not bake her own bread, in fact I believe that her generation were the first in their adulthood not to rely on anything other than the commercial, packaged loaves they could find on the grocers (and soon supermarket) shelves.
We always had jam on toast when we stayed round her house, sometimes over the course of the night me and my brothers would go through a whole loaf! She would buy in milk loaf especially which came in a light blue bag and the big stand out feature of this loaf was that it was a perfect cylinder! Warburtons still make the very same loaf and its the only loaf I can enjoy off the supermarket shelf today, even though it is still a commercial loaf made using non traditional methods that include chemical leavening or artificial bread improvers or other ingredients that will not be on the label which would make your stomach curdle.
So you can understand why, when I started baking my own bread a few years ago that I started baking milk loaf and still do as often as possible. Kids love this above any other bread, so instead of buying it in for them, try making it yourself!
This is one very simple, basic bread recipe! The milk creates a soft dough which is so very pleasing to work. It also creates a fairly compact crumb structure making it a very stable loaf, good for sandwiches and of course toast. Somehow the finished product is very light and the soft innards have a beautiful texture and a taste somewhere between sweet and savoury which sends me back 15 years.
I have always made this loaf in a traditional tin (which is unusual for my bread recipes), precisely because it is best used in sandwich making and toast, though you won't be sorry if you soak up a nice broth or stew with it either.
For this recipe you are best to use...
Ensure you get a good quality loaf tin
- 500 Grams Strong White Bread Flour
- 300 ML Milk, Semi Skimmed is best as it is a thinner liquid
- 10 Grams Salt
- 5 - 7 Grams Yeast
- 25 Grams Butter
recommended for the beginner
Step by step
- Measure out all of your ingredients individually.
- Cube the butter and add to the flour in a large bowl. Rub in as shown opposite until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.
- Add the salt and the yeast keeping them on opposite sides of the bowl. Mix them into the flour thoroughly.
- Add your milk and begin mixing to create a soft dough. Roll the dough around the bowl to ensure you incorporate all of the flour.
- Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Do not flour the work surface and do not use additional flour on your hands. Knead the dough thoroughly for at least 10 minutes.
- Shape into a rough oval, return to the bowl and leave to prove until doubled in size, leave a damp towel or some cling film over the bowl to protect it. This should take a minimum of 1 hour.
- Punch the air out of the dough and turn out onto your work surface, again no additional flour. Knead for a moment to incorporate any thin layer of skin that has formed, then shape into an oval (or Boule).
- Smooth some butter up the side and round the bottom of your loaf tin. Now add a small hand full of flour. By tipping and bashing gently you should try and cover the entire tin in a thin layer of flour, this will ensure you will get no sticking.
- Lay your dough opposite your floured tin on your work surface and gently start rolling out the dough to the same width as the tin.
- Put the dough into the tin, ensuring that each end of the dough is just touching the tin. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size once more. The dough should have both spread into the corners of the tin and have risen above the rim, but without spilling over. This will take about an hour. Ensure you turn your oven on to 200 degrees 15 minutes before the dough is ready so it is fully heated with a small empty oven tray at the bottom.
- Smooth flour over the top of your dough and gently slash the top with a razor or bread knife straight down the centre. (I do 3 straight cuts with this loaf but feel free to do just one if it is your first time). Put your dough in the oven without bashing the tin, now quickly tip a small glass of water into the oven tray at the bottom of the oven and close the door immediately but without bashing.
- Cook for 15 minutes then turn the loaf, ensuring that you do not open the oven during this time. Once turned leave for another 15 minutes at the same temperature. To check the loaf is ready use an oven glove to tip the loaf out of the tin. If you tap the underneath, or base of the loaf with your fingers and it sounds completely hollow then it is done, if you are in doubt return to the oven for another 5 - 10 minutes.
- Leave on a wire rack to cool.
Compare it with your usual milk roll if you already enjoy it. You will not be disappointed.
Any troubleshooting feel free to comment.