Thursday, 22 May 2014
I have some exciting news: in September, I start the Cambridge Graduate Course in Medicine! It's a four year accelerated course for graduates of other degrees (medicine is usually a 5-6 year undergraduate course in the UK but there are a handful of graduate courses too). It's not out of the blue, though I imagine it might seem so from the blog.
I'm really delighted to have this opportunity and I hope you'll stick with me through this change and as I become a doctor. Blogging is important to me and I want to continue so it shouldn't make too much difference to this space.
This is a lovely recipe that I've been making for a year or so. It's lightly enriched with a glossy crust and a soft, cream coloured interior. It's great as bread and toast (especially with butter and jam) and also for dishes that use stale bread like french toast and bread and butter pudding (and the recipe coming next week).
It's a simple three strand plait, just like the one I had in my hair for the majority of my childhood. You could also try a more complicated plait with this recipe - I'd love to have a go at an eight strand à la vintage Bake Off.
Finally, the Poires au Chocolat 2014 Survey is still open - I'd be very grateful if you could fill it out. If you don't add any comments, it only takes about 30 seconds. To take it, just click here.
Plaited Milk Bread
(adapted from Signe Johansen's Scandilicious Baking)
250ml milk (whole or semi-skimmed work)
50g unsalted butter
250g white bread flour
250g plain flour
50g caster sugar
2 tsp fine sea salt
7g instant yeast (1 sachet usually)
1 large egg
Place the milk and butter into a small saucepan and heat until the butter has melted and the milk is steaming (scalding the milk helps soften the bread). Pour into a bowl (a metal one will help it cool quickly) and place into the fridge to cool down.
Sieve the bread flour, plain flour, sugar and salt into a mixer bowl. Stir together then sprinkle in the yeast and stir it in too. Briefly beat the egg up then remove a teaspoon to another bowl (to use as egg wash later). Check the milk has cooled down to blood temperature or less. If it has, add the milk and the egg to the bowl and stir together until you have a shaggy dough. Knead on the mixer with the dough hook (I use 6 on my KA) for 5 minutes until the dough is silky and elastic. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place - it generally doubles in size in roughly 1hr 15 - 1 hr 45 minutes.
When it has risen, scrape the dough out of the bowl and divide into three pieces - they should be around 300g each. Roll each piece out into an even rope that's about 30-35cm (roughly 12-14") long. Place them next to each other heading away from you (i.e. looking like I I I) and squish the top ends together, so you have a tripod. Pull one of the outer strands over so that it rests between the other two. Repeat with the outer strand on the other side and so on. When you get to the end, press the strands together and tuck both ends under the loaf (like this). Transfer to a large, lightly greased baked sheet. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise again for about 40 minutes to an hour - if you poke it gently with a finger the indent should stay visible without springing fully back.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/390F (fan). When ready, add about 1/2 tsp of milk to the extra bit of egg and carefully and gently brush the loaf all over. Place a dish of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven and then place the bread in the top half of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180C/350F (fan). Bake for an additional 15-25 minutes or until the bread is a shiny and deep brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom (I slightly overbaked the loaf in the photos by mistake, but only just). Remove to a wire rack to cool fully before slicing.
(Makes one large loaf)
Three more posts about yeast:
Foundations no.9 - Using Yeast
Blueberry Braided Bread