The inspiration for this recipe comes from a recipe that I saw Michel Roux demonstrate on The Great British Food Revival. You can find it online I enjoy watching the Roux family break down all of the fundamentals of fine cooking, it really makes you think about and appreciate the ingredients that you have to work with. Bread can be overwhelming to some home cooks, but this recipe is almost fool proof as I have tested it a few times. I think what I love most about this recipe is using cake yeast as opposed to dry active yeast. I feel that it has more kick to it and it seems to rise very well. I tweaked the recipe by using King Arthur Bread Four instead of using a blend that is used in the original recipe. Lastly, for sweetness Michel uses Golden syrup, which I wasn't familiar with here in the US. After researching golden syrup I thought it would be appropriate to try using Agave syrup, which is a more than adequate substitute for obtaining the sweetness that this loaf has. It doesn't alter the flavor at all, and you still get that nice brown exterior. I hope that you will try this recipe and realize that homemade white bread can be very versatile to have on hand. I think next time I will attempt to incorporate golden raisins and cinnamon in the recipe. It's very satisfying to make this bread. —James Durazzo
one loaf which serves approximately 6 people
Stir the golden syrup and melted butter into the warm milk and stir to combine. Crumble the fresh yeast into a large mixing bowl, pour the warm milk over the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved.
Add remaining ingredients and mix together until a smooth dough forms. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside for 5 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Dust your work surface with additional flour if the bread tends to get sticky as you continue to knead. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic film and place into a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
Grease and flour a 12cm x 20cm/5in x 8in bread tin with some unsalted butter or cooking spray. (I have a non stick loaf pan which works very well) Also, you don't have to have the exact size loaf pan, if your loaf pan is a bit smaller/bigger, it won't affect the end product.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface again and gently fold over itself a few times. Using a sharp knife or dough scraper divide the dough equally into two pieces and shape into balls. Place the dough balls side by side in the greased loaf tin, cover with plastic film and set aside to rise again. The dough balls should double in size and puff up. (Optional, I like to add a nice appearance and slight nutty exterior by sprinkling some wheat bran on top of the balls as they proof before baking)
Preheat the oven to 410F
Using a sharp knife or a razor blade, slash the dough along the length of the top surface and place into the oven immediately. After 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 350F and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. Once the bread is done baking, you'll know it's cooked by tapping on the bottom, if you hear a hollow sound, it is cooked.