There aren’t many breads in Dan Lepard’s The Handmade Loaf that don’t need leaven, so until my sourdough starter is up and running I’m restricted in how many recipes I can try. This simple milk loaf is one of the few that doesn’t use leaven, so yesterday morning I thought I’d give it a try.
The recipe calls for fresh yeast which they sell in a couple of the shops on Broadway Market, which is lucky for me as it’s a rarity supermarkets. I’ve never used fresh yeast before so didn’t really know what to expect, turns out it’s like putty; cool, soft and pliable and it smells strongly acidic. I mixed it with whole milk & golden syrup and then combined this with a mixture of plain flour, strong white flour & salt before adding some melted butter. The result is a smooth, slightly sticky dough that was a joy to work with.
As always with Dan’s recipes the dough is left to rest and kneeded in 10 second bursts three or four times before being left to rise before baking. For this loaf I divided the dough into two balls and let them rise together in a loaf tin for about 2 1/2 hours. It was then finished with a milk wash and baked, and this was the result…
It’s quite a dense bread, Dan does say that it’s ‘strong, slightly tough crumb will make a jam sandwich that can withstand the rigours of a child’s schoolbag, or a cheese sandwich that can survive in a joggers backback’ and he’s not wrong. But it’s not just a tough loaf, it has a soft flavour that is perfect for sandwiches or a breakfast slice of bread and butter with raspberry jam.
Improvements for next time? I think needed to rise more pre-baking. My house was quite cold, so despite leaving it to proof for longer than specified it still could have done with a bit longer. But the flavour was lovely, so no changed planned there.