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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Simple Milk Loaf

(from The Art of Handmade Bread, Dan Lepard)

Today is ANZAC day here in New Zealand, it's slightly windy, warm and I don't have to go to work.  After being unwell all week and not being able to eat much, the thought of a nice fresh loaf of bread straight out of the oven was enough to perk me up.  Per my recent form, I forgot to feed my any of my sourdough starters last night, so thought I'd break from tradition and make a yeasted loaf instead.

I have been working my way through Daniel Leaders "Local Breads" over the past couple of years, but my aforementioned unreliable memory (I'm blaming perimenopause!) often hampers my efforts as I simply forget to feed my beasts, and sourdough bread making does have a 12hr lead time.  Unfed beasts = no bread!

So after flicking through Mr Lepard's good book, I have settled on the soft looking simple milk loaf.  I selected this loaf for no other reason than it looked good in the picture and did not contain any levain.

I have made it as per the recipe, but replaced 40g of milk with yoghurt as I do not have any whole milk, used only one type of flour (bread flour), used golden syrup instead of maple and salted butter.  I often find I make at least one modification or ingredient swap with every loaf I make, only because I ever seem to have exactly what is required!

I'm writing this up while the loaf is proofing, so hopefully all goes according to plan.  I haven't made a yeasted loaf for ages, so I've got to remember things happen a lot faster with yeast than with SD!


1.5 tsp fresh yeast (2%)
350g tepid whole milk (70%)
1 tblsp maple syrup (4%)
250g AP flour + 250g bread flour (100%)
1.25 tsp salt (2%)
2 tblsp melted unsalted butter


In a large bowl the yeast and syrup was added to the milk and mixed together.  The flours and salt were added and mixed together to form a dough.  The melted butter was poured over the dough and then worked in by hand.  The dough left to sit for 10 minutes covered then placed on a lightly oiled bench and kneaded for 10 sec (10 kneads).  The ball of dough placed in the cleaned bowl (now lightly oiled) and covered for 10 mins (with a plastic shopping bag).  The dough was given 3 more 10 sec kneads, 10 mins apart, then left to sit in the bowl for 30 mins.

The dough was split and shaped into 2 even balls (by weight), placed in a lightly greased and floured loaf pan,

covered with a tea towel, placed inside a plastic bag and left to proof at room temp for about an hour (or until it has almost doubled in height).

The oven was turned on (220C) and left to heat up for approximately 1/2hr prior to baking (ideally about 1 hr so my stone tile has sufficient time to heat evenly - I just forgot to turn it on earlier!).

The top of the loaf was brushed with milk (whilst brushing the dough did slightly collapse so I may have slightly overproofed it. The recipe did call for 1-1.5hrs proofing, but since I'm not used to making yeasted doughs, and it is quite warm today, maybe it got slightly over done. Perhaps shouldn't have brushed over the milk at all?!), and the loaf baked for 15mins (with 4 ice cubes in bottom tray), then the temp was lowered to 180C, and the loaf baked for a further 30mins (or until the top is a nice shiny dark brown, and it has come away from the sides of the pan).  The bread was tipped out of the pan and left to cool on a wire rack.
The loaf is unfortunately over proofed, just as I thought.  But the good news is, it only looks stink and it will taste just fine!!  Now I just have to wait for it to cool sufficiently before getting stuck in!  The crust with some honey is what I have running through my mind at the moment :)

As expected, the crumb is quite closed and soft with a thin crust.  And it's exactly what I felt like when I got up this morning.
Notes to self:
  1. turn oven on earlier
  2. check yeasted doughs at about 45 mins proofing especially on warm days
  3. if you think the loaf is over proofed, don't brush the top with milk!

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