500g bread flour
1 tsp fast action yeast
1 tsp fine salt
250g good quality butter (chilled)
You will also need:
Loaf tin liner
- Mix the sugar, fast action yeast and salt with the flour.
- Beat the eggs and reserve about a tablespoon. Make the weight of the remaining eggs up to up to 293g with the milk.
- Mix the eggs and the dry ingredients together thoroughly.
- Gently knead the dough. It will be quite stiff and dry. Persevere with gentle stretching and folding until the dough is smooth and shiny – about 5 minutes. It is important to be gentle with the dough – don’t allow it to break or crumble during the kneading.
- Wrap the dough in oiled cling-film and leave in the fridge to chill for at least 1-2 hours.
- Next, take the chilled butter out of its wrapper and whack it with a rolling pin until it is soft and malleable but still cold.
- Stretch out the dough into a rough rectangle. Place the cold malleable butter on top of the dough and start gently kneading. Again take care not to overstretch or break the dough. The dough will start to absorb the butter and become more soft, stretchy and sticky. It is helpful to use a dough scraper to ensure all the butter and dough get incorporated during the kneading.
- Keep stretching and folding until the dough is even in consistency and is smooth and shiny.
- Use the dough scraper to transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with cling-film and refrigerate for at least two hours or preferably overnight.
- Next, the chilled dough will have firmed up considerably. On a lightly floured work-surface shape the dough into a loaf shape:
- Pat the dough out into a rectangle 2-3 times the size of the tin and fold up into a loaf shape, or
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces. On a floured work-surface, roll the dough out into strands, even in thickness and about 30cm long. Lay the strands out in an X shape and crimping them together at the centre. Swapp the top-left and bottom-right strands then swap the top-right and bottom-left strands. Repeat the strand swapping to weave the strands into a loaf shape.
- Place the dough into the lined tin.
- Cover with oiled cling-film and leave at room temperature to rise for 2-3 hours.
- As soon as the dough feels light and puffy to the touch put into a pre-heated oven at 160-180C for 45 minutes. Add steam by spraying water into the oven or pouring boiling water into a hot baking tin.